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What is Silver Alert?

Silver Alert is an Amber Alert for missing seniors.

Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return.

Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets—such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable TV—to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors. In cases in which a missing person is believed to have gone missing on foot, Silver Alerts have used Reverse 911 or other emergency notification systems to notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person’s last known location.

Supporters of Silver Alert point to America’s growing elderly population as a reason to support new programs to locate missing seniors. Approximately 6 in 10 dementia victims will wander at least once, health care statistics show, and the numbers are growing worldwide, fueled primarily by Alzheimer’s disease. If not found within 24 hours, up to half of wandering seniors with dementia suffer serious injury or death

Silver Alert Legislation

S. 1814, the National Silver Alert Act of 2013, was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin on December 17, 2013. Senators Jay Rockefeller, Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, Claire McCaskill and Charles Schumer are original co-sponsors of Silver Alert legislation. S. 1814 directs the Department of Justice to establish a national communications network to assist efforts to assist regional and local search efforts for missing seniors and appoints a Department of Justice officer to serve as the Silver Alert Coordinator.  The National Silver Alert Act would also establish minimum standards for using and disseminating alerts issued through the network. Companion Silver Alert legislation, H.R. 5361, was introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) on July 31, 2014.

Click here for the latest news about Silver Alert legislation.

Silver Alert legislation has been pending in Congress since 2008. In May 2008, Representative Lloyd Doggett introduced the National Silver Alert Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill to encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States. Similar legislation was filed by Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Sue Myrick. The three bills were combined into a single bill, H.R. 6064. The bill was passed by the House in September 2008 by a voice vote, but the 110th Congress adjourned before it could be considered in the U.S. Senate. The National Silver Alert Act was re-introduced in the 111th Congress as H.R. 632. It was passed by the House of Representatives on February 11, 2009 on a voice vote but was not taken up by the Senate.

35 states and New York City have Silver Alert or a similar program to locate missing seniors. The American Silver Alert Coalition supports state legislative efforts to bring Silver Alert to all 50 states.

Silver Alert Success Stories

Silver Alert implementation varies from state to state. There are no national statistics for the success rates of Silver Alerts. However, among states that publicly release statistics, retrieval rates for Silver Alerts indicate a high level of success.

  • In North Carolina, 128 Silver Alerts were issued in 2008. Of these, 118 seniors were safely recovered.
  • In Georgia, Mattie’s Call has as garnered a safe return for 70 of the 71 calls issued between its inception in 2006 and January 2009.
  • In Texas, the Silver Alert system was invoked 52 times in the first year following its inception in September 2007. Of these alerts, 48 of the missing seniors were located safely, and 13 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert.
  • In Florida, 136 Silver Alerts were issued in its first year (2008–2009), leading to 131 safe recoveries. 19 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert. Over two years, 227 Silver Alerts have been issued in Florida – with 220 seniors located safely, and 36 of those recoveries attributed directly to the Silver Alert.

About the Coalition

The American Silver Alert Coalition is an alliance of concerned citizens and seniors organizations. We are working together toward the shared goals of enacting Silver Alert programs in all 50 states and passage of federal legislation to support state-level Silver Alert programs.

Recent Articles

7
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 82-year old Wisconsin man found in Iowa

On April 5, 2015, a Silver Alert was issued for 82-year-old Albert Soschinske. Soschinske went missing in Hartford, Wisconsin, and was later found safe 200 miles away in Iowa.

From the news story at WKOW:

Silver Alert has been canceled for missing Hartford man.  Authorities say 82-year-old Albert Soschinske has been found safe in Iowa.

*****

HARTFORD (WKOW) — Authorities are searching for a missing man who may be at risk.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has issued a Silver Alert for Albert Soschinske, 82. He was last seen Sunday afternoon in Hartford but did not arrive at a relative’s home as expected.

27
Mar

Silver Alert Success Story: 81-year old Oklahoma man found in Iowa

On March 20, 2015, a Silver Alert  was issued for 81-year-old Roland Callies. Callies went missing in Nowata, Oklahoma, and was later found safe 500 miles away in Orange City, Iowa.

From the news story at KWTV-9:

The Nowata County Sheriff’s Office says a missing man has been located and is OK. A Silver Alert has been cancelled for 81-year-old Roland Callies, who had last been seen in Nowata Thursday.

He has some health problems and had left home without his medication, so authorities were concerned.

On Saturday, he was found in Orange City, Iowa, authorities say.

13
Mar

Silver Alert Success Story: North Carolina Teen Found Safe in Texas

On February 27, 2015, a Silver Alert was issued for Hallana Hankins. Hankins went missing in Boiling Spring Lakes, North Carolina and was found safe 1200 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas.

From the story in the Wilmington Star News:

Officials with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said Texas authorities safely located a missing Brunswick County teen Wednesday.

The N.C. Center for Missing Persons canceled a Silver Alert for Hallana Hankins, 18, who was last seen in the Boiling Spring Lakes area Feb. 27, possibly heading toward Arlington, Texas. The Silver Alert said Hankins has a cognitive disorder and was endangered. Emily Flax, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Hankins made contact with her family over the phone and authorities in Texas safely located her in the Fort Worth area.
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