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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to announce an important new resource to protect Wisconsin seniors – the statewide Silver Alert program. On August 1, 2014, Wisconsin’s new Silver Alert law (Act 264) took effect.
Similar to an Amber Alert, Silver Alerts will go out by email, text message, or fax through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to notify the public that an adult with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other permanent cognitive impairment is missing. Anyone may subscribe online to receive Silver Alerts and Crime Alerts for free by email, text or fax. More information is available by visiting www.wisconsincrimealert.gov.
“Whenever a loved one goes missing, time is critical,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “Silver Alerts will help families and law enforcement locate vulnerable seniors more quickly and bring them home unharmed. I’m thankful to lawmakers, the Governor and our citizen partners in working toward this important tool in furthering public safety.”
According to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, at least 116,000 people with dementia reside in Wisconsin, and approximately 60 percent will wander at some point as their condition progresses. In Green Bay this past April, Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 710, creating the Silver Alert program. The bipartisan legislation was sparked, in part, by the experience of Claire Baeb, who was diagnosed with dementia, and her late husband, Leo. The couple from Green Bay got lost in June of 2013 while en route to see family but were located more than 24 hours later after having traveled several hundred miles.
“Silver Alert is a very important tool for all of Wisconsin, especially for our senior citizens. I just don’t want other people to experience what I have gone through,” Claire Baeb said. “We hope that everyone supports Silver Alert. One day you may need it yourself.”
In partnership with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Silver Alerts may be broadcast through television and radio, digital billboards, and lottery display terminals. Alerts also may be displayed on highway digital messaging signs through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Silver Alerts cannot utilize the Emergency Alert System. Silver Alerts will be issued when the following criteria are met:
• The missing person is 60 years of age or older;
• The missing person is believed to have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another permanent cognitive impairment that poses a threat to the individual’s health and safety;
• There is reasonable belief that the missing person’s disappearance is due to the individual’s impaired cognitive condition;
• The Silver Alert request is made within 72 hours of the individual’s disappearance;
• There is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person.
As Alzheimer’s and dementia are not limited to those 60 and older, where individuals are missing and at risk but do not meet the criteria for a Silver Alert, the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) can be utilized to send out a Missing/Endangered alert.
The public and businesses are encouraged to sign up to receive Silver Alerts and Crime Alerts at no cost by going to www.wisconsincrimealert.gov.
With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail or text message to individuals and business owners. Anyone may subscribe to the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to receive alerts. To enroll for free, visit http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/