March 27, 2011

Silver Alert: Measure merits congressional support | Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Efforts by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to establish a national Silver Alert network are not only welcomed but strongly encouraged.

Hoping to build off of what is already a successful West Virginia initiative, Manchin, D-W.Va., announced last week that he will introduce federal legislation to create a National Silver Alert network to assist with local and regional efforts to search for missing adults.

Since the state legislation was signed into law by Manchin while acting as the former governor of the Mountain State, every time the alert was activated the missing individual was located and returned home safely, according to the West Virginia State Police. The alert has been used about a half dozen times.

The Silver Alert system is modeled after the already highly successful Amber Alert program used to locate missing children.

The concept for the state-wide initiative was actually first proposed in 2008 by Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell. Moore came up with the idea after a tragedy involving a 69-year-old Alzheimer’s patient in McDowell County. Since its implementation in West Virginia, the program, in the instances it has been used, has been very successful, according to Sgt. Jerry Dornburg, the director of traffic records for the West Virginia State Police, who also oversees the Silver Alert program.

“The Silver Alert is something we did — and did well — in West Virginia,” Manchin, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said last week.

If lawmakers can take steps to help locate senior citizens who may be missing or endangered, they should do so. It is clear that we as a society can and should do more to help our seniors and those individuals and family members who are caring for them.

We see no reason why Manchin’s proposal should not be unanimously adopted by the full Senate and House. This is  good, commons-sense legislation that requires no partisan politics, or political bickering.

We urge all lawmakers — Democrats, Republicans, tea party members and independents alike — to stand behind Manchin in support and passage of this well-intended and urgently needed measure.

Just as the Amber Alert system has become a useful tool in the search for missing children, we believe the Silver Alert could become be a vital national tool in saving the lives of seniors in need.


By:  Editorial