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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

30
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 84-Year-Old Indiana Man found in Michigan

On April 28, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 84-year-old Richard Lubelski.  Lubelski went missing from Mishawaka, Indiana and was found 50 miles away in Paw Paw, Michigan.

From the story on WSBT:

SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE: UPDATE: Mishawaka police say Richard Lubelski was found in Paw Paw, Michigan and taken to a local hospital. He was expected to be reunited with his family later on Saturday. The Silver Alert has been canceled.

ORIGINAL STORY: The following release was issued around 3 a.m. Saturday morning by Indiana State Police:

A Statewide Silver Alert has been declared, repeating, a Statewide Silver Alert has been declared.

The Mishawaka Police Department is investigating the disappearance of an adult from Mishawaka, Indiana. Mishawaka, Indiana is 142 miles north of Indianapolis.

Richard J. Lubelski is an 84 year old white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 150 pounds, brown hair, and hazel eyes. He was last seen Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm in Mishawaka, Indiana and is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance.

If you have any information on Richard J. Lubelski, contact the Mishawaka Police Department at 574-258-1678 or 911.

And the Mishawaka Police Department issued this release:

Mishawaka Police need help locating Richard Lubelski, an 84 year old male white , 5’6”, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes, last seen wearing gray sweats on Thursday, April 26, 2018 around 12 pm in his home on E. Jefferson. Richard suffers from dementia and is known to wonder away at times and is not able to find his way back home. It is believed that Richard may have walked away from home due to his car not working and his bicycle in the shop being worked on. Richard told family members that he wanted to go LaPorte to get his bicycle. Family members are concerned for Richard’s Safety because he suffers from Dementia and needs his medicine.

Anyone with information concerning Richard Lubelski is urged to contact the Mishawaka Police Department , 574-258-1678.

26
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 91-Year-Old Maryland Man Found in Virginia

On April 25, 2018 a Silver Alert was issued for 91-year-old Bernard Calvin Allen.  Allen went missing in Columbia, Maryland and was found safe the same day in Virginia.

From the story on WJLA:

UPDATE: Bernard Calvin Allen has been found safe and unharmed in Virginia, according to Howard County police.

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A silver alert has been issued by police after a 91-year-old man went missing Wednesday.

Bernard Calvin Allen, of Jessup, Maryland, was last seen around 5 a.m. in the 5900 block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia but may have made it as far as Springfield, Virginia, Howard County police said.

Allen is believed to be driving a red 2017 Chevy Sonic with Maryland tags 88390HD, according to police.

Police said he may be confused and is in need of time-sensitive medication. He also is said to have age-related health concerns.

As described by police, Allen is a 5-foot-9, 205-pound black male with brown eyes and gray hair and mustache. When last seen, he was wearing a brown sweater, blue checkered shirt, gray pants, baseball hat and glasses.

Anyone who sees Allen or his vehicle is asked to call 911.

11
Apr

Silver Alert Success Story: 80-Year-Old Mississippi Man Found in Alabama

On April 9, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 80-year-old James H. Riddle.  Riddle went missing in New Albany, Mississippi and was found safe 170 miles away in Snead, Alabama.

From the story in the Daily Journal:

NEW ALBANY – The subject of a statewide Silver Alert has been located and is safe.

James H. Riddle, 80, of New Albany, disappeared around lunchtime Monday driving a gray Lincoln Town Car. He was located late Tuesday night about 170 miles away in Snead, Alabama.

Original story:

NEW ALBANY – The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation issued a Silver Alert for an 80-year-old Union County man missing since lunchtime Monday.

James H. Riddle of New Albany is described as a black male, 6-feet, 1-inch tall, weighing 160 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen April 9 just before 1 p.m. in the 500 block of North Street in New Albany driving a gray Lincoln Town car bearing Mississippi license plate UND 308.

He was last seen wearing a red sweater, black pants and black slippers. Family members say Riddle suffers from a medical condition that may impair his judgement.