[r18] Bill Would Create Silver Alert (2/6/2009)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Start Date: 2/6/2009 All Day
End Date: 2/6/2009

Bill Would Create Silver Alert

(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 6, 2009 - The House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a bill that would create a Silver Alert for missing older Hoosiers.

House Bill 1512 would inform the public and police quickly through the new Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults. The Silver Alert would use the same response procedures as an Amber Alert for missing children.

 "Missing adults are just as serious as a missing child," said Rep. Wolkins (R-Winona Lake). "Having a Silver Alert is extremely necessary and would save lives and put families at ease."

Three months ago, Alzheimer's victim George Brelsford, 82, Warsaw, was reported missing by his wife after he did not return home from his bowling league.  He was found by Vigo County authorities 30 hours later in Terre Haute, more than 200 miles away.

"It is a blessing George was found with no injuries or harm done," said Rep. Wolkins. "This has happened too many times to endangered adults, and the search was not always as successful as George's."

Nine states already have a Silver Alert procedure. Six of 10 people with Alzheimer's disease will turn up missing, according to statistics.

This bill is supported by the AARP, Indiana Alzheimer's Association, Indiana State Police and the Indiana Broadcasters Association.

Current law states local law enforcement must complete a missing person report within five hours of notification.  The local law enforcement agency may forward the report to any police department, area broadcaster and the National Crime Information Center's Missing Persons File.

HB 1512 would now have law enforcement agencies first contact the Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults.  From there, information on the missing person and alerts would quickly be transmitted to broadcasters. 

"I am happy to have been able to pass this bill into the House," said Rep. Wolkins.  "This is a civil issue I am glad to see Rep. GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) address.  Having the support of the clearinghouse will revolutionize the procedure of a missing person."    

House Bill 1512 will next be heard by the full House.