* The following information is directly from the website of the NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
"To help protect an increasing population of individuals that suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairment, North Carolina developed the Silver Alert program to quickly locate missing persons who may be endangered.
|The Silver Alert program was designed to quickly disseminate descriptive information about the missing adult, so that citizens in the affected area can be on the lookout for the endangered person and notify local law enforcement with any relevant information. The program is a cooperative effort among local and state law enforcement and the NC Center for Missing Persons, with voluntary participation by radio and television broadcasters and the NC Department of Transportation.|
Specific health information about the missing person is not publicized through the alert, or otherwise, in order to protect the missing from potential abuse, harm or exploitation.
Although a few other states have implemented similar programs to locate missing endangered adults, the Silver Alert program is unique to North Carolina and only one of three designed to help cognitively impaired adults. The North Carolina General Assembly formally established the program in 2007 by General Statute § 143B-499.8; it is operated through the NC Center for Missing Persons.
CriteriaALL of the following statutory criteria must be met before the NC Center for Missing Persons will activate a Silver Alert:
- The person is 18 years old or older
- The person is believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairment
- The person is believed to be missing – regardless of circumstance
- A legal custodian of the missing person has submitted a missing person's report to the local law enforcement agency where the person went missing
- Law enforcement reports the incident to the NC Center for Missing Persons
The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons (within the NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety) is the only agency that can activate a Silver Alert and will do so ONLY at the request of an investigating law enforcement agency. It is then the responsibility of the center to determine whether there is sufficient identifying data to justify a Silver Alert activation.
Step 1 - Local Law Enforcement Investigates
When a family member or caregiver calls local law enforcement to report their missing loved one, the law enforcement agency must first investigate the case and determine if the criteria warrant a request for a Silver Alert. According to North Carolina law, a Silver Alert can only be issued if all of the criteria are met (see above).
Step 2 - Local Law Enforcement Calls NC Center for Missing Persons
After completing the investigation and determining the case meets the qualifying criteria, law enforcement will call the NC Center for Missing Persons (an agency within the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety) to request a Silver Alert. The law enforcement agency will send completed Silver Alert forms to the center outlining the necessary information about the missing person.
Step 3 - NC Missing Persons Center Issues Silver Alert
The center and investigating law enforcement agency work together to notify the surrounding community about the missing person.
Law Enforcement Responsibilities
- Enter information into the National Criminal Information Center system
- Initiate a statewide “be on the lookout” bulletin to all appropriate law enforcement agencies
- Provide a 24-hour phone number to receive calls during the investigation
- Activate phone calls in the immediate area using a type of reverse 911 calling system. (Using the "A Child is Missing" program, law enforcement can notify 1,000 businesses and/or residents each minute)
- Notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (if the person is 21 or younger)
NC Center for Missing Persons Responsibilities
- Update information on the department's web site
- Notify the local media about the missing person (including pictures when possible)
- Request the NCDOT to activate highway message signs (if appropriate)
Once the missing person has been located, the local law enforcement agency will notify the NC Center of Missing Persons, who will cancel the Silver Alert. "
NC Center for Missing Persons
|If your family member with Alzheimer's or dementia is missing, call your local law enforcement agency first. Be sure to tell them of the dementia and ask if the Silver Alert is appropriate. They will take over from that point.|
Use the information below on "What to do if an Adult is Missing" to supplement your call to local law enforcement.