The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced to Historic City News this morning that Florida’s Silver Alert Plan is now four years old — a landmark officials say is cause for celebration; since the program can directly claim credit for 68 safe recoveries of missing seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The Silver Alert Plan sends out statewide alerts when a senior goes missing. 539 Florida seniors have been located safety after their information was broadcast through the program.
“Seniors who become lost or disoriented face risks of serious injury,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “The Silver Alert system has exceeded our expectations for both usage and successful recoveries.”
Florida’s Silver Alert Plan was initiated by an executive order signed on Oct. 8, 2008, and was codified into law by the Florida legislature in 2011. It is a standardized system to aid local law enforcement in the rescue of an elderly person with an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties if they go missing. The plan calls for the broadcast of information via the media and highway message signs when a vehicle is involved to enlist citizens in the search for an endangered senior.
“Seniors make up almost a quarter of Florida’s population, and that is expected to increase to 35 percent by 2030,” said Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles Corley. “The success of the Silver Alert program demonstrates the commitment by all of Florida’s citizens to protect vulnerable members of our families and our communities.”
Under the Silver Alert Plan, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to develop policies and procedures that work best in their respective jurisdictions. If the missing senior is driving a vehicle, local agencies contact FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse to request activation of a State Silver Alert and use of the Florida Department of Transportation’s dynamic message signs.
Once the person has been recovered, the Department of Elder Affairs, in coordination with the Area Agencies on Aging and Florida’s Memory Disorder Clinics, works to provide follow-up assistance to the senior.