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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

2
May

Silver Alert Success Story: 86-Year-Old Tennessee Man Found In Kentucky

On April 28, 2017, a Silver Alert issued for 86-year-old Christopher Ferrick. Ferrick went missing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and was found 140 miles away in Columbia, Kentucky after a vehicle crash.

According to the news story on WTVF NewsChannel 5:

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The man involved in a Silver Alert out of Rutherford County was found after being involved in an injury crash.

Officials with the Murfreesboro Police Department said Christopher Ferrick reportedly left his home at 1811 Kings Court between 5 a.m. and 11: 30 a.m. Friday and had’t returned.

He was said to have the beginning stages of dementia, but had not yet been diagnosed.

Ferrick was reportedly found after he was involved in a crash in Kentucky on Saturday morning.

Authorities had not released details on his condition or any injuries he possibly sustained.

29
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 80-Year-Old Arkansas Man Found in Missouri

On April 28, 2017, a Silver Alert issued for 80-year-old Lawrence Wayne Williams. Williams went missing in Bentonville, Arkansas and was found safe over 70 miles away in Carthage, Missouri.

According to the news story on Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

Authorities located Lawrence Wayne Williams in Carthage, Mo. He is safe and will soon be united with family.

ORIGINAL STORY

BENTONVILLE — Bentonville police are requesting information concerning a 80-year-old man who left his home Thursday and never returned.

Lawrence Wayne Williams, 80, left his home sometime before noon to run errands, according to a news release from the Bentonville Police Department.

Williams suffers from dementia and answers to his middle name Wayne, according to the release. Williams was last seen wearing gray jeans, a long sleeve red shirt with black stripes and cowboy boots, according the release.

23
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 73-Year-Old Rhode Island Man Found In Vermont

On April 20, 2017, a Silver Alert issued for 73-year-old Malcolm Almgren. Almgren went missing in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and was found safe over 150 miles away in Westminster, Vermont.

According to the news story on WPRI-TV:

Police in Portsmouth say a man who had been missing since Thursday, has been located.

Malcolm Almgren, 73, had been missing near the area of Baylies Avenue, located at the northern end Bristol Ferry Road, according to police.

In a news release Saturday morning, Major Brian Peters of the Portsmouth Police Department said that Almgren was found Friday in Westminster, Vermont by a member of the Vermont State Police. Almgren had apparently pulled off to the side of a road, prompting the Trooper to stop and check on the vehicle.

Almgren was taken to a hospital as a precaution and police notified his family of his whereabouts.