Major Components of Virginia's AMBER Alert System

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

EAS is the national civil emergency alert system designed to inform the public of immediate threats to national security, life and property. Employing warning tones, EAS utilizes the public radio/television and broadcast system to share information between public safety agencies and the media; who, in turn, transmit emergency information to the public. The Department of State Police uses the Everbridge Public Warning platform to communicate Alert information.

Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN)

VCIN is a telecommunication system which provides 24-hour access to Virginia law enforcement agencies to enter and query information regarding abduction or any matter dealing with missing children.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Message Boards and Highway Alert Radio and other VDOT Communication Systems

These systems are maintained by VDOT. Electronic changeable message signs and radio systems will be used to disseminate information to the public as they unitize the highway transportation system. Fixed signs are located on major highways throughout the state, and portable signs can be placed in other locations as needed. These signs and radio system could be used to transmit information to the public regarding a child abduction. The other communication systems will provide information to Virginia rest areas, welcome centers, truck weigh stations, and toll facilities.

Lost Child Alert Technology Resource (LOCATOR) System

LOCATOR is a computer system with software that creates posters of missing children for local, statewide, and national distribution. LOCATOR contains templates for media notification for agencies having an approved “AMBER Alert”, which can immediately broadcast information about a missing child on the radio and television via the EAS.  The Department of State Police is the only agency in Virginia that can create LOCATOR posters with the AMBER Alert banner.

Virginia Missing Children Clearinghouse (VMCC)

The Clearinghouse has the responsibility for the AMBER Alert Program. Staff have the ability to scan photographs and enter information regarding a lost child into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Website, Department of State Police Missing Children website and the website.

Secondary Components of Virginia's AMBER Alert System

Public Utilities' Communication Systems

Notification of the major public utilities within the Commonwealth which have communication systems capable of notifying their field employees when the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Plan is activated. These utilities include electric companies, gas companies, cable companies, etc.