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Indiana Considers Silver Alert

Some worry that adding elders to Amber program, as nine states have, might dilute its effectiveness 

Lawmakers in Indiana are being asked to add a “silver” alert for missing or endangered adults to the Amber Alert System.

WTHR(TV) reported that a state senate committee heard testimony this week. Nancy Bray Boggs told the legislators about her 91-year-old grandfather, who disappeared in 2007. They later learned a police officer in Ohio had stopped him because of reckless driving; the officer said the driver told him he was lost and looking at a map; the officer helped with directions and sent him on his way.

“We were so close to finding him and bringing him home, but because of that incident and no system for alerting people,” the TV station quoted Boggs saying, her grandfather “continued to get lost” and ended up [dead] in a creek in a remote area in Northern Indiana.”

According to the report, others expressed concerns about instituting a “silver” alert.

Glenna Shelby with the Indiana Broadcasters Association was quoted saying, “Many who’ve studied the Amber Alert System say it works so well because it’s used so infrequently. When people hear it they know it means something important.”

A state police official said adding a silver alert might detract from the Amber program and result in several alerts a week rather than the very few that are now heard; that would turn the alert into mere background noise. He urged consideration of an electronic bracelet system.

Nine states are said to have some version of a silver alert.