A bill moving through the Arizona Legislature would update the Silver Alert notification system to include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
You’ve likely received a silver alert on your phone or seen one on those electronic billboards dotting Valley freeways.
They’re issued if a person 65 or older or someone with Alzheimer’s disease goes missing.
Under the new guidelines, Senate Bill 1162 would include people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, regardless of their age.
“Wandering, or elopement as it’s sometimes called, is a problem for adults and children with developmental disabilities and certain diagnosis are more prone to it. Autism, we know for a fact, is one of the most prevalent diagnoses,” said Jon Meyers with the Arc of Arizona, a disability advocacy group.
Read more at KJZZ.
The House of Representative Monday unanimously passed State Rep. Sharon Negele’s (R-Attica) bill that would expand Silver Alerts to include missing children with disabilities.
Silver Alerts are issued by law enforcement and voluntarily broadcast by TV and radio stations when a disabled adult has wandered from their caregiver and is unlikely to return home without assistance. Negele’s legislation would expand this alert to include missing children with mental or physical disabilities.
According to Negele, Silver Alerts in Indiana helped locate 88 percent of those missing persons from 2013 through 2017.
House Bill 1248 can now be considered by the Senate.
Read more at the Crawfordsville Journal Review.
North Dakota may become the next state to adopt a Silver Alert program for missing seniors. House Bill 1359 was introduced by Representative Alisa Mitskog (D-Wahpeton) on January 16, 2017. H.B. 1359 directs the Superintendent of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Division of State Radio of the Department of Emergency Services to jointly establish a Silver Alert notice system. Such a system would apply to disabled adults, vulnerable elderly adult, or minors with developmental disabilities who have been reported to law enforcement as missing.
H.B. 1359 passed the North Dakota House of Representatives by a vote of 88-4 on February 21, 2017, the bill is currently pending in the Senate, where it has the support of Senators Kelly Armstrong, Jim Dotzenrod, Diane Larson, and Carolyn Nelson.
According to a news story at KVLY-TV in Fargo, North Dakota:
“Law enforcement can alert the public to be on the look out for missing these missing individuals,” said Democrat Representative Alisa Mitskog.
Although there are no guidelines or criteria for the Silver Alert system right now, Represtative Mitskog says the state law enforcement or the legislature would set them.
“We want to avoid overzealous reporting and want to protect one’s privacy,” said Mitskog.
Six out of 10 people with Alzheimers wander away from their home according to the Alzheimer’s Association. One representative signed onto the bill because he experienced his 93-year old aunt going missing.
“3 days ago the police had picked her up and she was in no condition to tell them how she could get home or where she lived or anything,” explained Republican Representative Mark Owens. “So she spent a three day vacation in one of our very nice, efficient hospitals.”