Silver Alert

SILVER Alert is a system to quickly notify the public about endangered adults that suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairment. Since adults with these mental ailments often become confused and disoriented, it is imperative that they are found quickly and returned to their caregivers.

Developed in 2007, the program is a cooperative effort among local and state law enforcement and the NC Center for Missing Persons, with voluntary participation by radio and television broadcasters and the NC Department of Transportation. The SILVER Alert program is based on the Cognitive Impairment Assistance Law that passed in August 2007 and builds upon the success of the state's AMBER Alert system. While North Carolina's SILVER Alert program criteria is unique, two other states have similar programs.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons is the only agency that can activate a SILVER Alert and will do so only at the request of an investigating law enforcement agency. It is then the responsibility of the Center to determine whether there is sufficient identifying data to justify activating the SILVER Alert system.

To activate a SILVER Alert, ALL of the following statutory criteria must be met:

  • The person is 18 years or older.

  • The person is believed to be suffering from dementia or other
    cognitive impairment.

  • The person is believed to be missing - regardless of

  • A legal custodian of the missing person has submitted a missing person's report to the local law enforcement agency where the person went missing.

  • Law enforcement reports the incident to the NC Center for Missing

How Silver Alert Works
The investigating local law enforcement agency and the Center for Missing Persons work together to notify the surrounding community and media about the missing endangered person.

Role of Law Enforcement
After completing the investigation and determining the case meets the qualifying criteria, law enforcement will:

1. Notify the NC Center for Missing Persons.

2. Send the completed SILVER Alert forms to the Center.

3. Enter information into the National Criminal Information Center.

4. Initiate a statewide "be on the lookout" bulletin to all law enforcement.

5. Provide a 24 hour phone number to receive calls while continuing the investigation.

6. Call "A Child is Missing Alert" to activate about 1,000 calls/minute to residents and businesses
in the immediate area (if the person has walked away).

7. Notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (if the person is under 21).

Role of the NC Center for Missing Persons
After contacted by law enforcement, the NC Center for Missing Persons will:

1. Request the NCDOT to activate electronic highway signs, if appropriate.

2. Update information on the department website

3. Send information and available photos to the media.