August 13, 2010
CONNECTICUT'S SILVER ALERT SYSTEM
By: Nicole Dube, Associate Analyst
You asked about Connecticut's Silver Alert system. Specifically, you wanted to know the process used to access the system.
Silver Alert systems help identify and locate missing seniors with cognitive impairments. Modeled after the federal Amber Alert system for abducted children, Silver Alert systems are emergency notification systems in which law enforcement agencies broadcast local, regional, or statewide public alerts for missing seniors and other individuals with cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer's disease. Broadcasts may be issued using radio, television, and electronic highway signs.
2009 legislation required the Connecticut Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Missing Child Information Clearinghouse to establish a system to help locate missing individuals who are (1) seniors age 65 and older or (2) mentally impaired adults at least 18 years old (PA 09-109). DPS implemented the system on July 1, 2009.
In order to access the system, an individual must file a missing person report with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. The local law enforcement agency then completes and sends a DPS form requesting a Silver Alert to the DPS Communications Center. DPS staff take the information, picture (if available), and local law enforcement agency contact information and make a flyer that is sent to radio and television media outlets and approximately 2,800 Connecticut Lottery system retailers. Alerts are posted on digital billboards in the search area but are not posted on Department of Transportation road signs.
To date, 31 Silver Alerts have been reported to the DPS Communications Center. It is important to note that mentally impaired children ages 15 through 17 are not covered under the Amber or Silver Alert systems. DPS, broadcasters, and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association are working on a voluntary Missing Person Advisory to handle these cases.
OLR Report 2009-R-0008 describes Silver Alert systems in other states.