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Silver Alerts a valuable tool to find missing people with dementia or those with disabilities

You’ve seen Silver Alerts posted on ADOT’s electronic billboards. These special alerts have been in use since 2014, and they are a valuable tool for law enforcement and families who are caring for a loved one living with dementia or a developmental disability. 

Sgt. Kameron Lee is with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He says before a Silver Alert is issued, an investigation has to take place. 

"So that means they're going to check hospitals, they're going to check jails, they're going to check family members, other residences, friends, things like that," he said.

Despite the name, a Silver Alert also covers people of any age with an intellectual or developmental disability. It’s a new-ish change that was made in 2018. Lee said that piece is still not well known.

"Truthfully, even in the law enforcement community, we're working to train our law enforcement partners to make sure they understand that that is also included," Lee said. 

Lee says there’s a positive resolution rate of roughly 98%. 

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.