Tennessee Amber Alert criteria updated by new Tennessee law

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 17:59:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After passing through both chambers, Gov. Bill Lee signed a new law designed to change how authorities issue some Amber Alerts.

The bill — from Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville — comes after Noah Clare's custodial father took him across the country in 2021 as a result of a custodial dispute. Because the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has specific criteria before it can issue the alerts, Clare's status didn't change from an Endangered Child Alert for 11 days. His father is currently facing charges in California, where police found Clare safely.

Amber Alert criteria now surrounds whether the person is 17-years-old or younger, the child must be in danger of injury or death and there must be a description of the child, abductor or vehicle.

Since Lee signed the law, authorities can now issue Amber Alerts after 48 hours for children abducted by their non-custodial parent. As written into the law, the custodial parent can — after reporting the child missing to a law enforcement agency — file a motion with the court seeking an emergency order declaring the child to be in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death and ordering the noncustodial parent to return the child.

That would then trigger the alert.

The law takes effect immediately.