June 28, 2011

Manchin files bill to locate missing seniors | Williamson Daily News

Washington, D.C. — Sen. Joe Manchin has introduced a new national initiative to assist in locating missing adults and senior citizens who have gone missing. The bill was modeled after the Silver Alert currently in place in West Virginia. “The Silver Alert is something we did – and did well – in West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “This system works. In West Virginia, we’ve been lucky enough to only have activated the system about a half dozen times, and we have been very successful in returning those missing individuals home safely."

The bill was cosponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and a House of Representatives version of the bill has been filed by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Under this legislation, a nationwide network would be created for missing adults and senior citizens. Manchin said this network would work to a certain degree like the AMBER Alert for missing children. It would provide federal coordination and assistance to local and state law enforcement agencies.

The bill directs the Department of Justice to 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 bill also establishes minimum standards for using and disseminating alerts issued through the network.

“A national Silver Alert system for seniors who go missing will keep our nation’s seniors safe and bring peace of mind to many concerned families,” said Senator Kohl. “With half a million new cases of Alzheimer’s every year, the need for a national system will only grow.”

This legislation is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Elder Justice Coalition, National Association of Police Organizations and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

By:  Terry L. May