AUSTIN (KXAN) — You might get a notification on your phone, see the messages on highways and hear about Amber Alerts on local television stations — but what exactly are Amber Alerts?

These statewide alerts inform the public of serious child abductions so it can assist police in helping locate the child.

Amber Alerts first came to be in Texas in 2002 when Governor Rick Perry created the state’s Amber Alert network through an executive order, which was set through legislation in 2003, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The following are the qualifications for an Amber Alert, pulled from the DPS website.

  • Is this child 17 years of age or younger, whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose disappearance law enforcement has determined to be unwilling which poses a credible threat to the child’s safety and health; and if abducted by a parent or legal guardian, was the abduction in the course of an attempted murder or murder?
    Is this child 13 years of age or younger, who was taken (willingly or unwillingly) without permission from the care and custody of a parent or legal guardian by:
    • Someone unrelated and more than three years older,
    • Another parent or legal guardian who attempted or committed murder at the time of the abduction?
  • Is this child in immediate danger of sexual assault, death or serious bodily injury?
  • Has a preliminary investigation verified the abduction and eliminated alternative explanations for the child’s disappearance?
  • Is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public to help locate the child, a suspect, or the vehicle used in the abduction?

The state is responsible for issuing Amber Alerts but they do so at the request of a responding agency.

You can view active and previous Amber Alerts on the DPS website here.