Authorities count hundreds of Amber Alert cases across the country as success stories when they start explaining why the politically popular bulletins are so important. Yet, despite a federal law meant to create a uniform system, an Associated Press (AP) review shows wide variations in what triggers an Amber Alert from one state to the next, which can heighten the tension when a suspect crosses state lines.

The AP examined Amber Alert records from all 50 states and found that some barely keep track of the alerts they've issued, let alone whether they worked. A few states don't have anyone designated


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