Each state determines the criteria for their Amber Alerts plan. In most states, Amber Alerts are issued for children up to the age of 18. On April 7, 2010, New York Governor David Paterson submitted a bill (Program Bill Number 233) that would extend Amber Alerts to a select group of adults. Currently eleven states have embraced plans that provide alerts for missing adults. These alerts are commonly referred to as Silver Alerts.
The expanded Amber Alert system would allow Amber Alerts to be issued for adults who are unable to assist in their own recovery due to their particular circumstances. This would include the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, and those who may have various mental impairments or disabilities.
Governor Paterson said, “The first hours after someone goes missing are the most critical, and we know that prompt notification of police and the community greatly increases the chances that a missing person will be safely recovered. We already have a proven infrastructure in place to disseminate alerts when a child or college student disappears, and now we can extend that protection to adults at almost no cost for increased safety and protection of our loved ones.”
New York currently has two alert systems in place, the AMBER Alerts and the MECC Alerts (Missing Child/College Student Alerts.
Governor Paterson concluded, “New York State already has one of the best missing child alert systems in the nation. Expanding this service makes complete sense both programmatically and economically. It is the right thing to do.”