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Senior Justice Center

Ohio program ‘Silver Alert’ would help locate missing elderly

Ohio would create a statewide emergency-alert program to locate missing elderly persons or adults with mental impairments under legislation working its way through the General Assembly. The system would allow police to use a statewide law enforcement network to notify other agencies of missing adults who are in danger because they cannot take care of themselves, Sgt. Dale Gillette of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office said. Information also would be sent to newspapers and radio and television stations to alert the public. Ohio would join a handful of other states, including Colorado, Texas, and North Carolina, which have adopted such systems, dubbed “Silver Alert.” The effort is similar to the Amber Alert child abduction system. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Carey, a Republican from Wellston in southern Ohio, was approved in the Senate last year and is before a House committee. Mr. Carey said there are no opponents but its taken time to pull together support from broadcasters, sheriff’s offices, and the Ohio Council of the Alzheimer’s Association. The bill requires police to determine that a person is missing and in danger before notifying other agencies. The person would have to be 65 or older or have a mental impairment.

Updated 3.10.2008