STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Americans are conditioned to respond to color coded warnings. Most of us remember the Orange Alerts issued during the Bush administration indicating that we were at a high risk for another terrorist attack. One click over on the spectrum, there are Amber Alerts. They tell you be on the lookout for a missing or abducted child. Mississippi is one of 29 states on the Silver Alert system. Americans are living longer. That’s great. But as we age, many of us will develop dementia. More than half of the people diagnosed with a cognitive impairment will wander away from home at least once. It can be terrifying experience for them and the people who love them. The Silver Alert system quickly gets the word out, about a missing and vulnerable adult. It’s different from a traditional missing person’s report. Corporal Criss Turnipseed is an acting Public Affairs Officer for the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He says, ” Usually that person will have to be missing for 48 hours to be declared officially missing. With the Silver Alert Program, that wait time is waived, because of the possible imminent danger, that adult might be in, because of their mental state.” Say a person reports that his ailing father left home late one morning. By early that afternoon, every law enforcement agency in the state will be on the lookout for him. Media outlets are also alerted. Corporal Turnipseed goes over the keys to an effective Silver Alert, ” Where they were last seen, a physical description, a photo if available, a possible vehicle they might be driving in, any possible locations they might be heading.” The good thing about the system, it works. There were 3 success stories in Mississippi last month, alone. Corporal Turnipseed says, ” The reports that have been filed, to my knowledge, all the persons, that have been deemed missing, have been located, have been found, returned.” A success rate like that, makes Silver Alerts the gold standard when it comes to finding a missing loved one. Silver Alerts can be issued for anyone over the age of 18 who has a cognitive impairment. Alabama has a similar system in place, but it is not called Silver Alert.
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