According to the article “Silver Alert Not Just for Seniors” in The State Journal, the West Virginia Silver Alert program extends beyond missing seniors to any missing person suffering from a cognitive impairment.
The Silver Alert has been enacted several times since its inception, each time for missing senior citizens.
But according to West Virginia State Police Lt. D.L. Frye, the alert system can be enacted for anyone who is cognitively impaired, regardless of age.
“Basically, there is no age limit whatsoever,” Frye told the West Virginia Legislature’s Select Committee on PEIA, Seniors and Long-Term Care during a July 23 interim meeting. “You think it’s for older, elderly people, but it actually governs all people who are cognitively impaired. That’s key to the Silver Alert.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has introduced federal legislation, the National Silver Alert Act (S.1263), which would 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.
In light of Senator Joe Manchin‘s sponsorship of S. 1263, the National Silver Alert Act, it is important to note inter-state Silver Alerts involving West Virginia. Silver Alerts across state lines make a compelling case for federal co-ordination.
On June 11, 2012, a Silver Alert was issued for 84-year-old Rosemary Stokes. Stokes went missing in Huntington, West Virginia, and was later found safe 60 miles away in Meigs County, Ohio.
From the news story in the WOWK-TV:
Rosemary Stokes was found Tuesday evening and is safe, according to emergency dispatchers.
Meigs County deputies said Stokes was driving her car and parked in a field of weeds, thinking she was home. She was parked just off of state Route 7 and state Route 143 in Ohio.
Some neighbors came to check out a property they just bought at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, and discovered Stokes in her car. Deputies said had they not made that visit, it’s possible she would not have been discovered for a while.
Stokes was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but she didn’t appear to have any injuries, deputies said.
In a letter to Senators Joe Manchin and Herb Kohl, NAPO writes:
This Act will further close the gaps in our nation’s missing persons networks and provide peace of mind to the millions of families affected by these terrible diseases. NAPO supports this legislation as economically feasible and essential for our communities.