PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - What happened to the emergency alerts for a Silver Alert in Arizona?
On April 23, cellphone users in Arizona received an “Emergency Alert” for a Silver Alert for a missing elderly man from Maricopa County. The alert came in just before 10 p.m. Another alert was sent out to some users the following morning.
This was the first time people saw this alert come across their phones. The Arizona Department of Public Safety told Arizona’s Family following the alert that government agencies can send Silver Alerts right to your phone using the emergency alert system.
According to DPS, the law was actually added in the last legislative session, but their system was not set up at the time to issue emergency Silver Alerts.
"When a Silver Alert is issued, it's because someone over the age of 65, and may have some sort of mental disability, is also missing, and their lives are in jeopardy," said Chris Kline, president and CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters Association.
Since the alert on April 23, there have been five Silver Alerts in Arizona. None of the alerts were sent as emergency alerts on cellphones.
Chrystal Moore, the DPS alert coordinator, told KTAR News on April 24 that the public would be getting these alerts because of new technology and it would be in a "timely" manner. Arizona's Family reached out to Moore but she did not return our request for comment.
But DPS Media Relations Specialist Bart Graves says the agency isn't required to issue Silver Alert notifications to mobile devices, rather it's another tool in their arsenal. Graves said they'll issue alerts in the future if a local agency requests it and if there's a fear that the person's life is in danger.
DPS says they may issue a Silver Alert if these conditions are met:
-After they have used all available resources to find the missing person
-The missing person is 65 years of age or older, has a developmental disability, Alzheimer's disease or dementia
-The person has gone missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances
-The missing person is in danger due to health, mental status or weather conditions