Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) recently voted in support of legislation to create the Missing Vulnerable Adults Clearinghouse, an initiative to ensure those with Alzheimer’s disease or other mentally-degenerating conditions are protected.
“The Amber Alert system helps notify our law enforcement and the public to assist in the recovery of a lost child. This common-sense legislation enacts a similar program, Gold Alert, for vulnerable adults who go missing and can help save their lives,” said the assemblywoman, who recently discussed this initiative with local seniors groups and mental health organizations.
Using the existing Amber Alert infrastructure, Gold Alert would help notify the public, law enforcement, and transportation agencies across the state through a variety of mediums, including television and radio news reports, highway message signs, and e-mail alerts, when vulnerable adults, such as those with disabilities or illness, are reported missing. Gold Alert also would allow law enforcement to more effectively coordinate search and rescue and other investigations in a timely manner to improve the probability that missing persons will be found alive.
This legislation, A.676-B/S.3293-B, was first introduced in the state Legislature in 2007, following an incident when a disoriented elderly woman disappeared from her Central New York home and was later found in New Haven, Connecticut. The initiative has continued to gain public support following news reports of other missing persons.
The bill has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and is currently on the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Once enacted, New York will be one of just a handful of states, including Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Illinois, to have a Gold Alert law.