H. B. 2453
(By Delegates Marshall, Guthrie, Sumner, Barill,
D. Poling, Fragale, Hamilton and Boggs)
[Introduced February 14, 2013; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §15-3A-2, §15-3A-3, §15-3A-4 and §15-
3A-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all
relating to expanding the Amber Alert Plan to include a child
reported missing regardless of circumstance.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §15-3A-2, §15-3A-3, §15-3A-4 and §15-3A-5 of the Code of
West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. AMBER ALERT PLAN.
§15-3A-2. Findings and determinations relative to "Amber's Plan".
(a) The Legislature finds and determines that:
(1) Public alerts can be one of the most effective tools in
combating child abductions and facilitating the safe return of
children missing regardless of reason;
(2) Law-enforcement officers and other professionals
specializing in the field of abducted and missing children agree that the most critical moments in the search for an abducted or
otherwise missing child are the first few hours immediately
following the abduction or discovery that a child is missing,
asserting that if a child is not found within two to four hours, it
is unlikely that the abducted child will be found alive or that a
child missing but not abducted will return safely;
(3) The rapid dissemination of information, including a
description of the abducted or missing child, details of the
abduction, abductor and vehicle involved, or other circumstances
surrounding a child gone missing, to the citizens of the affected
community and region is, therefore, critical;
(4) Alerted to an abduction or the report of a child missing,
the citizenry become an extensive network of eyes and ears serving
to assist law enforcement in quickly locating and safely recovering
(5) The most effective method of immediately notifying the
public of a child abduction or report of a missing child is through
the broadcast media; and
(6) That in addition to public alerts, other tools allowing
rapid response and identification of the movements of persons
suspected in a child abduction or in connection with a child being
missing require the use of all forms of developing technologies to
assist law enforcement in rapid response to these alerts and is an
additional tool for assuring the well being and safety of our children. Thus, the use of traffic video recording and monitoring
devices for the purpose of surveillance of a suspect vehicle adds
yet another set of eyes to assist law enforcement and aid in the
safe recovery of the child.
(b) The Legislature declares that given the successes other
states and regions have experienced in using broadcast media alerts
to quickly locate and safely recover abducted children and children
reported missing regardless of reason, and, with the recent
development of highway video recording and monitoring systems, it
is altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest,
to establish these programs for West Virginia.
§15-3A-3. Establishment of "Amber's Plan".
(a) The secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and
Public Safety shall establish "Amber's Plan", a program authorizing
the broadcast media, upon notice from the State Police, to transmit
an emergency alert to inform the public of a child abduction or
that a child is reported missing. The program shall be a
voluntary, cooperative effort between state and local law-
enforcement agencies and the broadcast media.
(b) The secretary shall notify the broadcast media serving the
State of West Virginia of the establishment of "Amber's Plan" and
invite their voluntary participation.
§15-3A-4. Activation of Amber Alert.
The following criteria shall be met before the State Police activate the Amber Alert:
(1) The child is
(A) Believed to be abducted; or
__________(B) Has been reported to the State Police or other
appropriate law-enforcement agency as believed to be missing,
regardless of circumstance, and the missing child is or is believed
to be at a location that cannot be determined by an individual
familiar with the missing child; and
(2) The child is seventeen years of age or younger;
(3) The child may be in danger of death or serious bodily
(4) There is sufficient information available to indicate that
an Amber Alert would assist in locating the child.
§15-3A-5. Notice to participating media; broadcast of alert.
(a) The participating media shall voluntarily agree, upon
notice from the State Police, to transmit emergency alerts to
inform the public of a child abduction or report of a missing child
that has occurred within their broadcast service regions.
(b) The alerts shall be read after a distinctive sound tone
and a statement notifying that the broadcast is an abducted or
missing child alert. The alerts shall be broadcast as often as
possible, pursuant to guidelines established by the West Virginia
Broadcasters' Association, for the first three hours. After the
initial three hours, the alert shall be rebroadcast at such intervals as the investigating authority, the State Police and the
participating media deem appropriate.
(c) The alerts shall include a description of the child, such
details of the abduction and abductor or circumstances surrounding
the disappearance as may be known, and such other information as
the State Police may deem pertinent and appropriate. The State
Police shall in a timely manner update the broadcast media with new
information when appropriate concerning the abduction or the
disappearance of a missing child.
(d) The alerts also shall provide information concerning how
those members of the public who have information relating to the
abduction or disappearance of a missing child may contact the State
Police or other appropriate law-enforcement agency.
(e) Concurrent with the notice provided to the broadcast
media, the State Police shall also notify the Department of
Transportation, the Division of Highways and the West Virginia
turnpike commission Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism
Authority of the "Amber Alert" so that the department and the
affected authorities may, if possible, through the use of their
variable message signs, inform the motoring public that an "Amber
Alert" is in progress and may provide information relating to the
abduction and how motorists may report any information they have to
the State Police or other appropriate law-enforcement agency.
(f) The alerts shall terminate upon notice from the State Police.
(g) The secretary, with the assistance of the participating
broadcast media, shall develop and undertake a campaign to inform
law-enforcement agencies about "Amber's Plan" and the emergency
alert program established under this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to expand coverage under the
Amber Alert Plan which currently applies only to children believed
to have been abducted. The bill would include children reported to
law-enforcement authorities as missing, regardless of circumstance.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would