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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

13
Jun

Silver Alert Success Story: 70-Year-Old Georgia Man Found in Alabama

On June 11, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 70-year-old Charles Dennis.  Dennis was originally spotted in Walton County, Florida and was found over 150 miles away in Mobile County, Alabama.

From the story in NWF Daily News:

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office had issued a Silver Alert for 70-year-old Charles Dennis on Monday night.

UPDATE 4:15 A.M.: The 70-year-old man who was the subject of a Silver Alert last night in Walton County has been found.

According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Charles Dennis was located by the Saraland Police Department in Mobile County, Alabama.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Florida Silver Alert has been issued for Charles Dennis, 70, last seen in the area of Highway 331 and U.S. 98 in Walton County at 4:51 a.m. Monday. Dennis is driving a 2018 red Nissan Frontier 4-door, with a Purple Heart Georgia license plate reading EFB610. Dennis is originally from Elberton, Georgia.

Anyone with information is asked to call their local law enforcement agency (Walton County Sheriff’s Office, 850-892-8111) or call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 1-888-FL-MISSING.

 

13
Jun

Silver Alert Success Story: 71-Year-Old Wisconsin Woman Found in Illinois

On June 12, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 71-year-old Ruth Rivera.  Rivera went missing from Rosendale, Wisconsin and was found 170 miles away in Elgin, Illinois.

From the story on Fox6 Now:

ROSENDALE — A Silver Alert has been canceled for a Rosendale (Fond du Lac County) woman reported missing Tuesday, June 12.

Ruth Rivera was reported to have been last seen around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Authorities said Rivera was brought back to Rosendale by family from Elgin, Illinois, where she got into her vehicle and took off.

Again — she has been found safe.

1
Jun

Silver Alert Success Story: 75-Year-Old Arizona Woman Found in California

On May 31, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 75-year-old Margarita Sanchez.  Sanchez went missing in Gilbert, Arizona and was found safely over 300 miles away in Beaumont, California.

From the story on KTAR News:

PHOENIX — A Silver Alert issued early Thursday was canceled after a Gilbert woman with dementia was found safely the same day in California.

Margarita Sanchez, 75, who had last been seen the previous evening at her church, was located during a traffic stop in Beaumont, around 80 miles east of Los Angeles and more than 300 miles from Gilbert.

Sanchez may have left St. Anne’s Catholic Church near Elliot and Lindsay roads around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. A witness told police that Sanchez left for home but went in a direction than usual. When she didn’t come home, family members called authorities.

Sanchez, also known as Maria, is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, has brown eyes, silver hair and was driving a black 1998 Honda Civic.