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DOJ Updates Amber Alert Site to Include America’s Indigenous Tribes

Dominic O’Dierno of Portland, Oregon oversees the operations of the consulting firm, Amare, LLC. Outside of this venture, Dominic O’Dierno supports efforts, such as the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Amber Alert program, to protect children from exploitation and victimization.

The Amber Alert program was launched in 1996 to help law enforcement, parents, and other social service agencies recover missing children after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted and then murdered. Since then, the program has expanded to include a website that disseminates communication, such as information and alerts, among public agencies all to coordinate efforts in the event a child goes missing.

In November 2020, the DOJ announced that it would update the Amber Alert website to include Native American and Alaskan Native communities. This effort also provides these communities with access to grants that can be used to integrate state or regional Amber Alert programs with tribes across the US, in addition to providing training and technical assistance. To date, 76 tribes participate in the Amber Alert program.

Alaska Native and Native American tribes experience a disproportionate amount of violent crimes, including missing women and children. The website upgrade will include indigenous tribes in the contiguous US and Alaska and was created after Ashlynne Mike, a child from Navajo Nation, went missing in 2018. At the time, tribal law enforcement could not notify residents living on the reservation because it had no plan in place, a major issue in other indigenous communities in other parts of the country as well.


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