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National Amber alert awareness day celebrated with poster contest

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the AMBER Alert system. AMBER Alert in Idaho is a program of voluntary cooperation between broadcasters, cable providers, and local and state agencies to enhance the public's ability to assist in recovering abducted children. AMBER Alert notification is supported by the AMBER Alert Web Portal and the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

National Amber alert day.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

AMBER Alert, which stands for "American's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response," was created law enforcement and media representatives in Arlington, Texas in 1996 after the kidnapping and brutal murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman.

"The awareness of the public of the AMBER Alert system has been vital in recovering children in a timely manner," says Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification Manager, Dawn Peck, the Governor appointed Idaho AMBER Alert Coordinator. "Idaho has a dedicated group of professionals that form the Idaho State AMBER Alert Advisory and Review Committee. The protection of our children is the focal point for this committee. I am pleased to chair the committee and to implement the improvements to the process for issuing an AMBER Alert to increase the chance of returning children safely to their families."

The criteria for an AMBER Alert to be issued is very specific and are as follows:
1) The child is known by law enforcement to have been abducted
2) The abduction occurred within 12 hours of initial activation of AMBER Alert
3) The child must be 17 years or younger, or with a proven mental or physical disability, and police must believe that the child has been abducted
4) Law enforcement must believe the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death
5) There must be enough descriptive information to believe that an AMBER Alert will assist in the recovery of the child
6) The child must be entered into National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as abduction

To bring awareness to the issue of missing children, child safety and the AMBER Alert Program, the Idaho Missing Persons Clearinghouse, also administered by the Idaho State Police, will participate in the National Missing Children Poster Contest.

The United States Department of Justice annually sponsors a national poster contest to help raise awareness about child safety. The purpose of the contest is to exhibit America's effort to bring missing children home safely, while highlighting the importance of preemptive education programs. Student involvement in the poster contest promotes peer education, while captivating students to explore and understand the theme "Bring Our Missing Children Home."

Contest Rules:
1) Applicants must be in the 5th grade
2) Artwork should reflect the theme "Bring Our Missing Children Home." The phrase must appear on the poster
3) May be created using acrylics, watercolor, pencils, charcoal, magic markers, spray paint, crayons, pastels, and etcetera. Do not use digitally produced images, collages, cut-outs and stamping
4) Finished poster must measure 8 1/2 x 14 inches
5) The poster must be submitted with a completed application and waiver
6) All submissions are due February 18, 2014

The winning poster of the Idaho Poster Contest will be sent to the National Contest for judging. The national winner along with their teacher and parents will travel to Washington, D.C., to receive an award and participate in the Missing Children's Day ceremony, May 25, 2014.

Contest details and application forms are located on the Idaho Missing Person Clearinghouse web page located at isp.idaho.gov/BCI under the Missing Person Clearinghouse Tab or call the Missing Persons Clearinghouse at 208-884-7137. Submissions are due no later than February 18, 2014. The winner will be announced February 24, 2014.