State Launches Gold Alert System

October 31, 2011
There was good news last week that will better protect vulnerable adults. The State launched its Missing Adult Alert system. The Gold Alert is similar to the Amber Alert but would be used only for missing adults. If someone goes missing, bulletins through various media will be utilized to spread the word so the public can help locate the missing adult.

It will work much like Amber Alert. When an Amber Alert is issued, those registered to receive notices can receive emails or text messages with details about the suspect and the victim so the public can assist law enforcement. In cases that involve those with Alzheimer’s or dementia who wander off, this alert system will enable law enforcement officials to better involve a coordinated search effort with the community and keep people safer.

This alert system is thanks to legislation that passed in the State Legislature this year and was signed by the Governor. I was happy to support it in the Assembly. The legislation was due in large part to adults who went missing in and around Syracuse. Family members felt if an alert system was in place, some cases would have had different outcomes. The state has 90 days after the law’s signage to implement a system and has done so.

Once law enforcement determines that an elderly person is missing, officials can choose to issue a Gold Alert. The network of those alerted would include other law enforcement, broadcasters, transportation officials, the wireless industry, trucking carriers, retail outlets and many more. When Amber Alerts are issued, people see notices on their television news reels, phones and emails if they’re registered. Amber Alerts have a high success rate and are used sparingly so the public pays attention when they are issued. If law enforcement can notify and use the public in the same way they have used Amber Alerts, that missing adult has a better chance of being returned safely to home and their families.

To sign up to receive notices, visit www.nylert.gov. On the left-hand side of the website, there is a link that says “Sign Up for NY-Alerts.” Click on this link and it will provide instructions on how to enroll in the alert system. You must have an email address to enroll. After enrolling, you may enter your preferences for notification. It will ask for addresses or locations that you are interested in knowing about. It will also prompt you to enroll in the Amber Alert, Missing Adult Alert, Severe Weather and Transportation alerts. You may choose to opt out of some or enroll in all. I would encourage you to enroll in the system because you never know: you may play a part in the recovery of a loved one who is missing.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling (315) 598-5185. You also can find me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.