The Alert System broadcasts three different alerts: AMBER, Blue and Silver.
- Amber Alerts - The Arizona AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to send out an emergency alert to the public when a child is abducted.
- Blue Alerts - A Blue Alert is activated when a suspect is at large about killing or injuring a law enforcement official and pose a threat to the public or law enforcement community.
- Silver Alerts - A Silver Alert is activated when a person with specific cognitive or developmental disabilities, as defined by statute, or a person the age of 65 or older goes missing. Prior to June 2018, this only applied to persons over 65.
There are 108 ADOT message boards across the Valley and 193 statewide.
An alert's location will determine how many signs flash the information, because law requires that officials spread the alerts only in the region where the crime or disappearance took place.
The new alerts were signed into Arizona law in 2014. Federal law doesn't allow the use of infrastructure the same way for Blue and Silver alerts as Amber alerts, but AZDPS can use these signs because they're state owned.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is a WEA?
- A WEA, Wireless Emergency Alert, makes a loud warning sound on your phone and delivers messages with relevant alert information to your wireless device that is similar to a text message.
- What is an EAS?
- An EAS, Emergency Alert System, is a request within the IPAWS system that allows broadcasters to interrupt programming with alert information. For more information, please visit FEMA's website.
- What is IPAWS?
- IPAWS is the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which both EAS and WEA fall under. For more information, please visit FEMA's website.
- What is an AMBER Alert?
- An AMBER Alert is America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and are activated in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of a missing child. These alerts are broadcast through radio, TV, road signs, cellphones, and other data-enabled devices. For more information, please visit the AMBER Alert website.
- What is a Blue Alert?
- An Arizona Blue Alert is issued when a suspect, who is a threat to the community or law enforcement, has killed or seriously injured an officer and has fled in a vehicle. For more information, please visit the Blue Alert website.
- What is a Silver Alert?
- An Arizona Silver Alert is issued when a subject is over 65-years-old, or anyone with a developmental disability, goes missing in an unexplained or suspicious manner and other specified criteria has been met. For more information, please visit our Silver Alert page.
- Why am I getting alerts on my phone?
- Whenever a Blue or AMBER Alert activation occurs, cell phones users will get an alert on their phone in an effort to locate the subject(s). Both types of Alerts are soliciting the publics' help in locating individual(s) listed in the Alert. Silver Alerts will only be issued when the missing person's life is in peril.
- Why did my wireless device not receive a WEA?
- Only WEA capable wireless devices within the specified activation area will receive an alert. If you believe you were within the activation area and have not "opted out", contact your wireless provider to determine if your model is "WEA capable".
- Why did an AMBER Alert interrupt my program?
- Anytime an EAS request is sent, the broadcasters may interrupt normal programming.
- Who can request an alert activation?
- Only the law enforcement agency leading the investigation may request an alert activation.
- Why does it take so long for an alert to be activated?
- Alert activations are the last resort, only used when conventional law enforcement methods have been exhausted. Before an alert activation can occur, pre-determination that all alert criteria have been met has to be completed. When criteria is met, the alert activation brings several types of additional resources, including EAS and/or WEA. Each activation step takes time to complete. An alert is not activated until all steps have been completed, including entering all the detailed information that the public would need to help locate the subjects and/or vehicles. Public assistance can only be requested when enough details can be provided that would assist in quickly locating the subject(s) and/or vehicle in an alert activation.
- What happens when criteria for an alert activation is not met?
- No alert will be activated. However, the requesting agency will be directed to other invaluable resources that may assist in quick recovery of subject(s) and locating of vehicles when specified criteria is not met. If at some later point criteria is met, then the requesting agency may initiate an updated request with the new information.
- What agency activates the Arizona WEA and EAS AMBER, Blue and Silver Alerts?
- Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) is the only agency that can activate an AMBER, Blue or Silver Alert. Through IPAWS, AZDPS can activate a WEA and can request and EAS activation. While WEA alert notifications that go out to wireless capable devices to all users except those who opt out, an EAS request is sent to the broadcasters to disseminate information quickly. Depending on the nature of the alert, the broadcaster will determine if normal programming will be interrupted.
- If another state has already activated an AMBER/Blue/Silver Alert, will AZDPS automatically activate it for Arizona?
- Unless there is credible information that the subject(s) are in Arizona and all of Arizona's criteria have been met, AZDPS will not activate an AMBER/Blue/Silver Alert.
- Can AZDPS activate alerts in other states?
- No, AZDPS can only activate alerts within Arizona. If an Arizona law enforcement agency needs to request an activation in another state, then they must contact the activation point of contact for the state.