What warrants an Amber Alert?

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Several steps are taken and specific criteria is met in a missing person case before AmberAlerts are set in place by the state's highway patrol office.

Thefirst step is to alert the local law enforcement that a person is missing.

Oncea missing person report is filed at the local level, that local law enforcementis the agency that will report to the state's highway patrol office if an AmberAlert is warranted.

PetalPolice Sgt. Michael Crawford said," If it's a juvenile, we're going to handleit a little differently than we would with an adult."

If a person that is older than 18, that person is not consideredmissing until 24 hours after they were last seen.

When a person of any age goes missing and is believed to be in avehicle then information can be put into a national database that alerts allagencies.

Sgt.Crawford said the initial descriptions that are asked for in a missing persons caseis the last know place that person was at, their last known description, all oftheir personal information, and a list of possible associates that they could bewith.

Accordingto MS Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Barfield, if the criteria is met for anAmber Alert, authorities get started right away.

Barfieldsaid, "It is up to your local agency to complete the criteria."

According to Barfield, Amber Alerts are not issued unless ALL ofthis criteria is met:

- The person is 17 years or younger

- Criminal activity is suspected

- There is a threat of imminent danger or death

- There is credible descriptions of the abductor, the kidnappedand the escape vehicle

The Department of Public Safety said the multiple alerts from this past weekend were due to a glitch in the system, and only one alert should be sent to your cell phone.

The emergency broadcast will put out seven alerts in the first five hours, according to DPS.