(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 impaired person;
(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 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.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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