The Wisconsin Department of Justice Silver Alert program has been activated multiple times in recent weeks when local law enforcement has received a report of a missing adult at risk. Attorney General Brad Schimel reminded the community that June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and the Silver Alert often can bring a missing loved one home and relief to the family.
“The Silver Alert Program is a life-saving resource in the event a loved one goes missing due to a cognitive impairment,” Attorney General Brad Schimel said. “I am heartened by the numerous success stories that show that the cooperation among law enforcement, the media and the general public can – and does – save lives.”
Silver Alerts are electronic notifications sent out through the DOJ Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. Law enforcement contacts the DOJ and the alerts subsequently are sent to members of the network. Subscribers include members of the media, businesses, law enforcement and the general public. The free notifications are shared via lottery terminals, digital advertising billboards, Department of Transportation message boards, social media outlets and other subscribers. To directly receive the alerts, go to www.wisconsincrimealert.gov.
Since the program’s inception August 1, 2014, there have been 35 Silver Alerts through the Wisconsin DOJ. Four people were found deceased, one is still missing. The average age is 77; 43% are female and 69% leave in a vehicle.
For those with a loved one who suffers from a cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s, dementia or another impairment which poses a threat to their health and safety, families should be prepared. Having a photo stored digitally, knowing their medical issues and having a license plate number and unique identifying features of their vehicle can save time during a crisis. Most important, families should not wait when reporting their loved one missing. People will often wait because their loved one has “gone missing before but always turned up” or they don’t want to be burden to their local law enforcement agency. It is an emergency and it should be called in immediately.