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What Do All of Texas’ Different Alert Systems Mean?

Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a law establishing a new state emergency alert system called Athena Alert. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between an Athena Alert, Amber Alert, Clear Alert and more.

a woman touches a photo of her daughter on a missing persons poster
Amber Hagerman's mother Donna Williams touches a photo of her daughter on the original "Missing" poster that was displayed during a news conference at the abduction site in Arlington on Jan. 13, 2021.
Tom Fox/TNS
Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Tuesday, June 13, that creates the Athena Alert for the state’s emergency alert system. The alert was inspired by Athena Strand, who was allegedly kidnapped and killed by a delivery driver in Wise County last year.

The alert closes the time gap in the Amber Alert system. Unlike an Amber Alert, an Athena Alert does not require immediate confirmation that a missing child has been abducted.

Here’s an explanation of the state’s other alert systems:

Amber Alert


An Amber Alert notifies law enforcement and the public of abducted children.

The criteria needed to be met for their issuance: The missing person needs to be 17 or younger; their disappearance must be unwilling; the person must be in immediate danger of sexual assault, death or injury; an investigation must rule out alternate explanations for the child’s disappearance; and enough information about the child or suspect must be available for public dissemination.

Silver Alert


The Silver Alert is designed to help the public or law enforcement locate a person 65 or older, or people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Five criteria need to be met: Enough information about the missing person needs to be available for public dissemination; the person must be 65 or older or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; an investigation must determine the disappearance of the person is due to their impaired mental condition; it needs to be requested within 72 hours of the person’s disappearance; and the person’s disappearance must pose a threat to their health or safety.

Blue Alert


Blue Alerts are meant to help locate people suspected of killing or seriously injuring a member of law enforcement.

Four criteria need to be met for an alert to be issued: The subject of the alert must be suspected of killing or seriously injuring a member of law enforcement; the person must pose a threat to public safety; a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle must be available for broadcast; and the primary investigative law enforcement agency must request the activation of the alert from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Endangered Missing Persons Alert


An Endangered Missing Persons Alert is designed to help law enforcement and the public locate missing people with intellectual disabilities.

Four criteria need to be met for the issuance of this alert: The person must have an intellectual disability or developmental disorder confirmed by a physician; the disappearance must pose a credible threat to the person’s safety; the alert must be issued within 72 hours of the disappearance; and enough information must be available about the missing person to disseminate the alert to the public.

Camo Alert


A Camo Alert notifies the public of a missing member of the military or military veteran who might be a danger to themselves or someone else. Current or former military members must register for the Camo Alert program to be eligible for an alert.

Four criteria are required for the alert’s issuance: The Texas Department of Public Safety needs to verify the military member is registered with the Camo Alert program; the missing person needs to be a confirmed current or former member of the military or National Guard; there needs to be a demonstrated threat to the health and safety of the missing military member or the public; and the agency must confirm the missing person lives with a mental illness or traumatic brain injury.

Clear Alert


A Clear Alert is designed to close the gap between Amber Alerts, which are used for children, and Silver Alerts, which are used for seniors. The alert is designed to help law enforcement locate missing or kidnapped adults who are in danger of death or injury.

The criteria before an alert can be issued: The missing person needs to be between 18 and 64; their location needs to be unknown; the missing person needs to be in immediate danger of death or injury, or the victim of an abduction; the alert needs to be requested within 72 hours of the person’s disappearance; and enough information needs to be available about the missing person to help the public find them.

Power Outage Alert


A Power Outage Alert can be requested by the state’s Public Utilities Commission or any of its four independent grid operators — the Midwest Reliability Organization, the Southeast Reliability Corporation, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — when power supply is inadequate to meet the state’s power demand.

Active Shooter Alert


The state’s Active Shooter Alert was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021 and is designed to alert people who are near someone killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.

Four criteria need to be met before an active shooter alert can be sent over the state’s network: The active shooter needs to be in the agency’s jurisdiction; the shooter’s last known location is known; the requesting agency confirms the presence of the shooter through a preliminary investigation; and the agency needs to determine that an alert would assist innocent people in the shooter’s vicinity.

©2023 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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