Lawmakers propose Silver Alert System to help locate elderly

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): An amber alert-like system may be coming to North Dakota but it's not aimed at your children, it's aimed at your mom and dad who may have serious memory issues. The state legislature heard a bill Wednesday that if approved would create a Silver Alert Notice System.

A Silver Alert system would help lost loved ones be found in a quicker fashion.

"Law enforcement can alert the public to be on the look out for missing these missing individuals," said Democrat Representative Alisa Mitskog.

Although there are no guidelines or criteria for the Silver Alert system right now, Represtative Mitskog says the state law enforcement or the legislature would set them.

"We want to avoid overzealous reporting and want to protect one's privacy," said Mitskog.

Six out of 10 people with Alzheimers wander away from their home according to the Alzheimer's Association. One representative signed onto the bill because he experienced his 93-year old aunt going missing.

"3 days ago the police had picked her up and she was in no condition to tell them how she could get home or where she lived or anything," explained Republican Representative Mark Owens. "So she spent a three day vacation in one of our very nice, efficient hospitals."

The Silver Alert system was started in Colorado in 2006 and now over 40 states have Silver Alert programs.

Owens says having the system would have helped find his aunt quicker.

"You get the state and population involved. It comes in really handy and you find people that way," stated Owens.

If the Silver Alert system is passed, the bills fiscal notes say it would cost the state about $5,000 to implement.