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New Law Allows Police to Immediately Begin Search for Missing Elderly

You probably know what an Amber Alert is, the national alert system used for missing children, but do you know what a Silver Alert is?
A Silver Alert is used for an elderly person who goes missing from their home or nursing home. Usually this person is vulnerable or suffers from Alzheimer’s, and waiting the required 24-48 hours before a search begins can be life threatening.
The State of Michigan has recently passed the Mozelle Senior Or Vulnerable Adult Medical Alert Act. Under the act, police must take a report regarding a missing person as soon as a department is notified, and give the information to at least one broadcast outlet in the area.
For the police, the law makes it easier for them to enter a missing vulnerable adult’s name and information into the Law Enforcement Information Network system without time-delaying verifications. For the family, it offers some comfort knowing their vulnerable loved one is being searched for immediately.
This was a comfort that Tony Pierce of Redford did not know. His elderly mother,  who had Alzheimer’s, went missing from her nursing home in southwest Detroit in April of 2005. He was devastated that the police could not begin a search until 48 hours had passed. His mother’s body was found 5 days later near railroad tracks; she had fallen down an embankment and died.
It was Pierce’s family that approached legislators to create the alert system for elderly or vulnerable adults, and on June 19, seven years after his mother’s death, the Mozelle Senior Or Vulnerable Adult Medical Alert Act was signed.

Some of the information for this blog was received from Cecil Angel’s article in the Detroit Free Press on September 2, 2012.
To read more about the new law, please visit this website:
http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl -Act-176-of-2012.