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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

14
Jan

Silver Alert Success Story: 85-Year-Old Oklahoma Man Found Safe in Texas

On January 13, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 85-year-old Howard Laverne Scott. Scott went missing in Nowata, Oklahoma; and was later found safe 300 miles away in Monatgue County, Texas.

From KTUL-TV:

Nowata Police issued a Silver Alert for an elderly gentleman who was reported missing.

Officials say 85-year-old Howard Laverne Scott was last seen on a surveillance video leaving a convenience store at 5:40 p.m. Saturday.

He was driving a black Ford F-150 King Ranch truck with a tan stripe on the bottom and an old rocking chair in the bed of the truck.The tag on the vehicle is OK #GLZ-143. The truck was last seen headed southbound on Highway 169.

Scott is five-feet, eight inches tall, weighs about 178 pounds, has blue eyes and salt and pepper hair.Police say the man suffers from dementia, which has been getting worse over the past few weeks.Officers say Scott was last seen wearing blue overalls and a maroon cowboy shirt.

Nowata police say 85-year-old Howard Scott has been found safe in Texas.

10
Jan

Silver Alert Success Story: 87-Year-Old Rhode Island Man Found in Massachusetts

On January 8, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 87-year-old John Saul. Saul went missing in Cranston, Rhode Island and was found safe 60 miles away in Bourne, Massachusetts.

From the article in the Providence Journal:

Police have canceled a Silver Alert for an 87-year-old man with dementia after he was found safe this evening in Bourne, Massachusetts, said Cranston Sgt. Brian D’Amico.

Cranston police had issued the alert for John Saul — described as 5 feet 7 inches and 145 pounds, with blue eyes — who had been seen driving home on Route 6 in Providence.

In April 2017, authorities issued a Silver Alert for Saul, who had last been seen at the Warwick Mall. He was later located in Boylston, Massachusetts.

According to the alert, Saul was driving a black Volkswagen Jetta with Rhode Island license plates LV730. He was wearing a blue jacket and a white hat.

6
Jan

Silver Alert Success Story: 85-year-old Arkansas Woman Found in Oklahoma

On January 4, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 85-year-old Gervadine Bradley. Bradley went missing in West Fork, Arkansas and was found safe 130 miles away in Henryetta, Oklahoma.

From KHBS-TV News 40/29:

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Gervadine Bradley has been located.

Officials tell 40/29 News Ms. Bradley was found with a family member in Henryetta, Okla.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said officials in Oklahoma checked on Ms. Bradley and said she is doing fine.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Silver Alert for a missing woman from West Fork.

Gervadine T. Bradley has been missing since the afternoon of Friday, December 29, 2017. She is 85 years old, is 5’4″ and weighs about 120 pounds. She has gray hair and blue eyes.

Gervadine’s family was planning to put her in a nursing home. Terry Lynn Bradley, one of her sons, may have driven her away from her home, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Terry has not been answering his phone and the rest of the family doesn’t know where he is, according to the sheriff’s office. Gervadine takes medication and her family isn’t sure if she has it with her. She suffers from dementia.

Terry and Gervadine may be traveling in a 2001 Gold Toyota Truck with an expired tag reading 959 ONT. The truck bed may have miscellaneous items covered with tarps or blankets.