H. B. 2504
(By Delegates Williams, Boggs, Argento, D. Poling, Pethtel,
Marshall, Butcher, Ennis, Rowan and Manypenny)
[Introduced February 17, 2009; referred to the Committee on
Senior Citizen Issues then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by to
amending and reenacting §15-3A-7 of said code; and 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 the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, that §15-3A-7
of said code be amended and reenacted; and that said code be
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
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 Alert Activation.
(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
Silver Alert 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 2009. 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 or Silver Alert and recommendations for any additional legislation or actions necessary to further
facilitate the implementation of the "Guardian Angel Video
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 the 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 the 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) That in addition to public alerts, other tools allowing
rapid response requires the use of all forms of developing
technologies to assist law enforcement in rapid response to these
alerts and is 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 impaired person.
(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 transmit
an emergency 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.
§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 suffering from dementia or other
(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) Is, or 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 shall agree, upon notice from
the State Police, to transmit emergency alerts to inform the public
of a missing cognitively impaired person that has occurred within
their broadcast service region.
(b) The alerts shall be read after a distinctive sound tone and
a statement notifying that the broadcast is an silver alert. The
alerts shall be broadcast as often as possible, pursuant to
guidelines established by the West Virginia Broadcasters'
Association, for the first three hours. After the initial three
hours, the alert shall be rebroadcast at such intervals as the
State Police deem appropriate.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
(e) 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.
(f) The alerts shall terminate upon notice from the State
(g) The secretary shall develop and undertake a campaign to
inform law-enforcement agencies about "Silver Alert" and the
emergency 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 shall be 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.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create an alert system for
persons with cognitive impairments to assist in finding these
individuals before harm comes to them.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would