What Is A Silver Alert In Texas?

If you are someone who is visiting Texas or has recently moved to Texas, it might be a good idea to become familiar with Texas’ alert system. 

Most of us would have heard or are familiar with the Amber Alert and what it means when one is issued. Did you know there are other types of alerts? One other type of alert is the Silver Alert. You might not be as familiar with this type of alert but it is really important. 

If you are not sure what the Silver Alert means, then don’t panic. We are going to go through what a Silver Alert is, what requirements need to be met to issue one, and how you can get one issued. 

What Does A Silver Alert Mean? 

The Silver Alert in Texas was proposed in 2007. Its aim is to alert the public of a missing elderly person who has a mental condition, like dementia.

The alert exists so that the public is aware there is an elderly person that is ages 65 and above missing. The alert is a way to be able to find the missing person, using the public to be on the lookout for them. 

When the alert is issued, information about the missing elderly person is released to the public. This is usually things like a physical description of the person including what they are, their name, and their last known whereabouts.  

What Are The Requirements Of A Silver Alert?

In order for a Silver Alert to be activated, the person must meet certain requirements. These requirements are;

  • The person must be 65 or older for a Silver Alert to be considered. 
  • The person must also have their permanent residence be in Texas. 
  • The person also needs to have been previously diagnosed with a mental condition that impairs them, for example, Alzheimer’s disease. The condition they are diagnosed with needs to pose a threat to their safety for the requirements to be met. 
  • There needs to be an investigation into their disappearance and any other possible reasons for them disappearing need to have been ruled out. 
  • The Silver Alert needs to be requested within 72 hours of the person going missing. 
  • There also needs to be enough information to give to the public so they are able to help. 

In order for a Silver Alert to be issued all six requirements need to be met. Also, the family or guardian of this person needs to be able to provide medical evidence that the missing person has a mental condition. 

How To Activate A Silver Alert

If the person that you know has gone missing meets these requirements, then you can request that an alert be activated. It is usually law enforcement that decides whether or not to activate a Silver Alert. 

You should usually contact your local law enforcement in order to inform them of a missing elderly person. If they believe the criteria are met, they can decide to issue a Silver Alert. 

There is also the option of requesting a Silver Alert activation when you go on the Texas government website. There will be a form that you will need to fill out in order to request a Silver Alert activation. 

What Can You Do? 

If you have been notified of a Silver Alert, then the best thing you can do is be aware. It is important that you keep an eye out for the missing person, especially if you are in the area they were last seen. 

If you do locate the missing person, then you should call 911 immediately so they can come and assist the person. 

If you know someone who would potentially meet all the requirements if they went missing, then it would be a good idea to discuss getting them the proper documentation and identification. This is a good precaution to have in place in case a wandering incident occurs. 

For those of you who have been made aware that a loved one has the risk of having a wandering incident, then it might be a good idea to talk to those who know how to find the triggers of wandering and how to prevent it. 

Criticism

You might find it shocking to hear that there are criticisms of the Silver Alert. However, there are some issues that people have with Silver Alerts

A big concern about issuing Silver Alerts is that they are violating human rights. Since Silver Alerts are about the elderly who have a mental condition, many of the Silver Alerts contain some of their medical information.

Although, there are procedures in place in order to limit the amount of medical information that is released about a missing elderly person. 

Another criticism of Silver Alerts is to do with the cost of them. It is estimated that issuing alerts can cost well over 50 million dollars.

Though, considering how many elderly people there are within society, having a safety precaution for them, such as the alerts potentially outweighs the cost. 

The last criticism we want to share is the idea that there are too many alerts. There is the idea that since the alerts are becoming more frequent, the public is desensitized to them.

Therefore, they no longer pay as much attention to them as they previously had. The problem with this criticism is that there is practically nothing to support it. 

Data

When looking at how important the Silver Alerts have been for Texas, we need to look at the data. Some data shows that during the time after the Silver Alert was introduced to Texas, 48 missing elderly people have been found.

Out of these 48 cases, the data can directly link 13 of those missing people being found due to the Silver Alert. 

Final Thoughts

The Silver Alert is an alert that tells the public of Texas when an elderly person with a mental condition that poses a threat to said person’s safety goes missing.

The goal of these alerts is to have the public aware so if they pass the missing elderly person, they would be able to identify them and get them help. 

Robert Miller
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