Amber Alert System Coming for Vulnerable Adults

Amber Alert System Coming for Vulnerable Adults

Since its inception in 2002, the nationwide Amber Alert system has helped save the lives of 540 abducted children by quickly providing the public with updates and information. On Monday, New York joined a number of states that will begin using that technology to help find missing vulnerable adults.

The new statewide system, like the Amber Alert, can rapidly alert residents about missing adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments. Under the new law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, photographs and posters will be printed and distributed and a toll-free 24-hour hotline will be established. There will also be additional training for law enforcement and assistance will be provided for returning missing adults who are located out of state.

“By creating this alert system we are protecting vulnerable adults who go missing from potential harm and helping families find and return their loved ones to safety,” Cuomo said. “Today New York joins a number of other states that have seen the value of this type of system in keeping safe cognitively impaired adults who wander away from home.”

The law, sponsored by state Senator John Defrancisco and Assemblyman William Magnarelli, was in response to the growing number of cognitively impaired adults who wandered away from their homes.

Defrancisco mentioned a case several years ago when a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s from Syracuse left her home and travelled all the way to Connecticut.

In Howard Beach, 72-year-old Giuseppe Russo, an Alzheimer’s patient was reported missing eight months ago. Despite a concentrated search, which included cooperation from the NYPD and local efforts to distribute more than 4,000 fliers, Russo’s remains were found earlier this month in Jamaica Bay.

Although it is too late for Russo’s family, the new law will now give panicked families in similar situations vast statewide resources, which could become the difference between life and death.

by Eric Yun


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