The Illinois state legislature is working on expanding its Silver Alert program to include missing persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
“You might have somebody that knows that they’re lost, but if you or I were to go and have a conversation,” says Eric Brown with RAMP. “They’re not going to be able to tell us where they live in the city.”
That’s why some lawmakers in Springfield want to change the missing persons act in Illinois to include people with those disabilities who are considered high risk.
“So, adding that language specifically gives the police, gives families the opportunity to have a resource to reach out to to put something out there to know someone’s missing,” Brown says.
Shawn Way is the CEO of Milestone, an organization that helps people with those disabilities lead independent lives. He says the organization provides housing, jobs and outing activities for people. Although way says it’s rare for his residents to wander off or get lost, it’s happened before.
“We just contact all hands on deck,” Way says. “Any and all staff at that home, any staff or supervisory staff of that home, contacted the police they came right out right away.”
Lawmakers say it’s happened twice recently in two different parts of the state, which is why lawmakers came up with a plan to add a new alert. They also say they are still working to define a developmental and intellectual disability in that bill. The Senate is set to vote on the measure in the next couple of weeks.
Read more about this story at WREX-TV.
Nursing students and faculty from the University of Alabama-Huntsville took their support of the Silver Alert to Montgomery.
“It’s HB 427 which is the Silver Alert Bill,” Amy Hunter, Clinical Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, said. “That’s just like an Amber Alert but it would be put in place for senior adults, or adults of any age that are affected with cognitive impairment in an instance that they were to go missing.”
These students are members of Nursing 312, an independent gerontology course at the college.
“We are currently talking about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and this is something we felt would be a good professional advocacy for us to participate in,” Hunter said.
The Silver Alert bill would push for more training for law enforcement officers, and anyone, who helps search for a missing person with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Read more at WHNT-TV.
Following in the footsteps of similar legislation in the Virginia General Assembly, Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) has introduced federal Ashanti Alert legislation.
The bill, H.R. 5075, the Ashanti Alert Act of 2018, would help local and regional law enforcement efforts to search for missing adults. Modeled after the “Amber Alert”, this legislation would utilize a wide array of media outlets – such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable television – to broadcast information about missing persons. The alert applies to persons between the ages of 18 and 65, with the decision to issue the alert made by the law enforcement agency investigating the missing persons report.
H.R. 5075 has the bipartisan support of Representatives Lamar Smith (TX-21), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08).
“Giving law enforcement the similar ability of an Amber alert, but for missing adults will rapidly bring government and public resources to bear,” said Congressman Scott Taylor. “This legislation will, no doubt, save lives and help prevent future tragedies. Sometimes lessons learned come from the worst case scenarios, such as the Ashanti Billie case, but from the dark we can help bring light.”
“I appreciate the efforts by my colleagues to offer this legislation that helps law enforcement to better track missing persons and serve their communities,” stated Congressman Smith.
“The Ashanti Alert Act is a bipartisan, commonsense step to improve public safety. Passing this bill will make it easier to quickly inform the public and law enforcement agencies about people who go missing,” said Cicilline. “I’m proud to be introducing this bill with Congressman Taylor.”
“We already have emergency alert systems to help us locate missing children and senior citizens, but what about missing and endangered adults? This bipartisan proposal gives state and local law enforcement the tools to issue emergency alerts for people between 18 and 65 who go missing. I’m proud to join Congressman Taylor and other colleagues in introducing this legislation that we hope will help our families and save lives,” said Representative Raskin.