H. B. 2504
(By Delegates Williams, Boggs, Argento, D. Poling, Pethtel,
Marshall, Butcher, Ennis, Rowan, and Manypenny)
(Originating in the House Committee on the Judiciary)
[February 20, 2009]
A BILL to amend and reenact §15-3A-7 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; and by further amending said code by adding
thereto a new article, designated §15-3B-1, §15-3B-2, §15-3B-
3, §15-3B-4, §15-3B-5, and §15-3B-6 of said code, all relating
to the establishment of an alert system for missing
cognitively impaired persons.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §15-3A-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that said code be further amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated §15-3B-1,§15-3B-2, §15-3B-
3, §15-3B-4, §15-3B-5, and §15-3B-6, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. AMBER ALERT PLAN.
§15-3A-7. Providing for the use of video image recording devices
for search purposes during an Amber Alert or Silver
(a) The State Police and the Division of Highways shall
coordinate a process to utilize all available video recording and monitoring devices for the purpose of monitoring Amber Alert or
suspect vehicles. This program shall be called the
"Guardian Angel Video Monitoring" Program.
(b) The Secretary of Military Affairs and Public Safety shall
also develop a plan to provide for the State Police to monitor and
utilize video recording and monitoring devices during an Amber
Alert or Silver Alert
. This "Guardian Angel Video Monitoring"
implementation plan shall include at a minimum, the following:
(1) Utilization of any state or local video recording and
monitoring devices upon agreement with the department, agency or
political subdivision in control of the video recording device;
(2) Development of policies and initiatives relating to
facilitating sharing of information with neighboring states wherein
suspect vehicles in Amber Alerts or Silver Alerts
may be crossing
(c) The secretary shall submit the plan to the Joint Committee
on Government and Finance no later than December 1, 2008. The plan
shall include an analysis of all related costs for equipping and
using a statewide video recording and monitoring system during the
duration of an Amber Alert and recommendations for any additional
legislation or actions necessary to further facilitate the
implementation of the "Guardian Angel Video Monitoring" program.
ARTICLE 3B. SILVER ALERT PLAN.
§15-3B-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as "Silver Alert
§15-3B-2. Findings and declarations relative to "Silver Alert
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) Public alerts can be one of the most effective tools in
locating missing cognitively impaired persons
(2) Law-enforcement officers and other professionals
specializing in the field of missing persons agree that the most
critical moments in the search for a missing cognitively impaired
person are the first few hours immediately following the discovery
that the individual is missing, asserting that if he or she is not
found within twenty four hours, it is unlikely that he or she will
be found alive or without serious injury. The rapid dissemination
of information, including a description of the missing cognitively
impaired person, details of how he or she became missing, and of
any vehicle involved, to the citizens of the affected community and
region is, therefore, critical;
(3) Alerted to the situation, the citizenry become an extensive
network of eyes and ears serving to assist law enforcement in
quickly locating and safely recovering the missing cognitively
(4) The most effective method of immediately notifying the
public of a missing cognitively impaired person is through the
broadcast media; and
(5) All forms of developing technologies are required to assist
law enforcement in rapidly responding to these alerts and are an
additional tool for assuring the well being and safety of our
cognitively impaired citizenry. Thus, the use of traffic video
recording and monitoring devices for the purpose of surveillance of
a suspect vehicle adds yet another set of eyes to assist law
enforcement and aid in the safe recovery of the cognitively
(b) The Legislature declares that given the successes other
states and regions have experienced in using broadcast media alerts
to quickly locate and safely recover missing cognitively impaired
persons, and, with the recent development of highway video
recording and monitoring systems, it is altogether fitting and
proper, and within the public interest, to establish these programs
for West Virginia.
§15-3B-3. Establishment of "Silver Alert" program.
(a) The Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and
Public Safety shall establish "Silver Alert", a program authorizing
the broadcast media, upon notice from the State Police, to
broadcast an alert to inform the public of a missing cognitively
impaired person. The program shall be a voluntary, cooperative
effort between state law-enforcement and the broadcast media.
For the purposes of this article, the term "cognitively
impaired" means a person having a deficiency in his or her short-
term or long-term memory, orientation as to person, place, and
time, deductive or abstract reasoning, or judgment as it relates to safety: Provided, That the cognitive impairment is not caused by
the use of alcohol or
drugs not legally prescribed by a physician
(c) The secretary shall notify the broadcast media serving the
state of West Virginia of the establishment of "Silver Alert"
program and invite their voluntary participation.
(d) The secretary shall submit a plan to the Joint Committee
on Government and Finance no later than December 1, 2009. The plan
shall include "Silver Alert" activation protocols, evaluation of
first responder training requirements and needs as related to
cognitively impaired persons, coordination and utilization of
established programs and analysis of any costs. The secretary
shall also make recommendations for any additional legislation or
actions necessary to further facilitate the implementation of the
"Silver Alert" program.
§15-3B-4. Activation of Silver Alert.
The following criteria shall be met before the State Police
activate the Silver Alert:
(1) A person is believed to be cognitively impaired;
(2) The person is believed to be missing, regardless of
(3) A person who has knowledge that the cognitively impaired
person is missing has submitted a missing person's report to the
(4) The missing person may be in danger of death or serious
(5) The missing person is domiciled in the State of West
(6) The missing person is, or is believed to be, at a location
that cannot be determined by an individual familiar with the
missing person, and the missing person is incapable of returning to
the missing person's residence without assistance; and
(7) There is sufficient information available to indicate that
a Silver Alert would assist in locating the missing person.
§15-3B-5. Notice to participating media; broadcast of alert.
(a) To participate, the media may agree, upon notice from the
State Police via email or facsimile, to transmit information to the
public about a missing cognitively impaired person that has
occurred within their broadcast service region.
(b) The alerts shall include a description of the missing
cognitively impaired person, such details of the circumstance
surrounding him or her becoming missing, as may be known, and such
other information as the State Police may deem pertinent and
appropriate. The State Police shall in a timely manner update the
broadcast media with new information when appropriate concerning
the missing cognitively impaired person.
(c) The alerts also shall provide information concerning how
those members of the public who have information relating to the
missing cognitively impaired person may contact the State Police or
other appropriate law-enforcement agency.
(d) Concurrent with the notice provided to the broadcast media,
the State Police shall also notify the Department of Transportation, the Division of Highways and the West Virginia
Turnpike Commission of the "Silver Alert" so that the department
and the affected authorities may, if possible, through the use of
their variable message signs, inform the motoring public that a
"Silver Alert" is in progress and may provide information relating
to the missing cognitively impaired person and how motorists may
report any information they have to the State Police or other
appropriate law-enforcement agency.
(e) The alerts shall terminate upon notice from the State
(f) The secretary shall develop and undertake a campaign to
inform law-enforcement agencies about the "Silver Alert" program
established under this article.
§15-3B-6. Aid to missing cognitively impaired adult; immunity from
civil or criminal liability.
No person or entity who in good faith follows and abides by the
provisions of this article is liable for any civil or criminal
penalty as the result of any act or omission in the furtherance
thereof unless it is alleged and proven that the information
disclosed was false and disclosed with the knowledge that the
information was false.