You’re driving down the highway on your way to work and you see the blinking orange letters: “Silver Alert, Grey Sedan, WI LIC 123456.” Most know what an Amber Alert is, but do you know what circumstances qualify as a Silver Alert?
Similar to an Amber Alert, Silver Alerts will go out by email and text message through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to notify the public that an adult with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive impairment is missing.
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 disease progresses. In Green Bay, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 710, creating the Silver Alert program. The need for this legislation was sparked 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 on their way 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. 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 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.
For more information on Silver Alerts, click HERE.