Five pieces of criteria must be met to issue an Amber Alert. But not every case meets the requirements.

According to police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, most cases usually start with a local agency taking a report.

That agency will start the investigation.

When those officers realize the child in the case is in imminent danger, that agency will come to state police to determine if an Amber Alert is called for..

State police must look to see if *ALL 5* criteria have been met. Only then can an Amber Alert be issued.

Those 5-key points are:

  •  Is the child 17-years-old or younger?
  • Is the child in imminent danger - meaning in serious bodily harm or death?
  • An investigation must verify an abduction has taken place.
  • Information is available to disseminate to the public- things like a child or suspect description or what kind of vehicle is involved.
  • And, the child must be entered into a Virginia and National database as soon as possible.

If even one of those items isn't met, an Amber Alert can't be activated.
Geller says the reason for that is state police doesn't want the alerts to be so common, that the public is dismissive when they see them.

She says this alert is for the worst of the worst cases.