Michigan’s Amber Alert criteria is changing in 2017

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("Michigan State Police cars -- door seal on 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury" by Joe Ross, CC BY-SA 2.0)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police officials say they are changing the criteria for issuing Amber Alerts.

Starting Sunday, the emergency response system that disseminates information about missing children will only be used for child abductions. All Amber Alerts will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert, which pushes the notifications to mobile devices and interrupts broadcasts.

Amber Alerts had been authorized for missing children with severe mental or physical disabilities who wandered away and could not care for themselves.

Cases that don’t meet the new standards will be eligible for what’s called an Endangered Missing Advisory. Those notifications are sent to area broadcast and print media but not as wireless alerts.

Officials say the changes help ensure that credible, useful information gets out to the public in the most critical cases.

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