Some lawmakers in Lansing have put forth bills to institute a notification system similar to an Amber Alert for missing senior citizens and vulnerable adults.
Under Senate Bill (SB) 260, which sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a missing senior or vulnerable adult would have to meet one of the two following criteria:
• Be at least 60-years-old and believed to be missing by a person familiar with that particular individual unable to return home without assistance; or
• Be at least 18-years-old and “because of age, developmental disability, mental illness or physical disability (require) supervision or personal care” and lack “the personal and social skills required to live independently.”
The person familiar with the individual reporting the person missing would have to be a guardian, custodian or caretaker.
Once a law enforcement agency is notified of the missing senior or vulnerable adult, they would be required to prepare a report including relevant information such as a physical description, when the missing senior or vulnerable adult was last seen, and their address.
That information would then have to be forwarded “immediately” to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in the area where the missing person resides and was last seen, as well as any law enforcement agencies that the person reporting the missing individual requests and any law enforcement agencies that request the report.
One or more TV or radio broadcast stations and newspapers in the area would have to be notified, as well. Law enforcement officials would be required to request that the media outlet notifies the public of the missing person, as well as broadcast or publish a description the individual and other relevant information that would help in locating that person.
Katie Carey, spokeswoman for state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), the bill’s primary sponsor, said the senator’s office is “working through” drumming up support among the law enforcement community.
She added that the bill is a reintroduction of legislation Whitmer introduced last year that was inspired by the case of Estella Mozelle Pierce, a southwest Detroit resident who died after wandering from her home. Companion legislation, House Bill (HB) 4332, has been introduced in the state’s lower chamber.
State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wolverine Lake), who is a co-sponsor of HB 4332, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
White Lake Police Chief Ed Harris said that, while he hasn’t read the legislation, “If we can be of assistance, if it can help us do our job better, I’m all for it.”