ALBANY — The state recently marked the one-year anniversary of the Missing Adult Alert system, celebrating its success in helping law-enforcement officers find individuals who have gone missing.
The system operates similar to Amber Alerts and is used when a person who is 18 or older and diagnosed with a cognitive brain disorder, like dementia and autism, or mental impairment, is reported missing and deemed to be at risk for harm.
Since the program went live for the first time, the Missing Persons Clearinghouse at the State Division of Criminal Justice Services has issued 21 alerts, Deputy Director of Public Information Janine Kava said in a statement.
Law-enforcement officials credited the system with helping to locate seven adults from among those reports who were reported missing in their communities.
“Time is of the essence when anyone goes missing, but it is particularly critical when individuals who are unable to care for themselves because of a cognitive impairment or brain disorder wander away from home,” Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Elizabeth Glazer said in a statement.
“This system allows law enforcement to mobilize the public and other agencies to assist in the search, increasing the odds that these individuals will be quickly located and reunited with their families.”
About 800 officers from across the state attended training this past spring to get accustomed to the using the system effectively, and the clearinghouse is sponsoring a second training course devoted to search-and-rescue tactics.
Locally, Plattsburgh City Police Capt. Michael Branch said officers from his department attended the system training, though they have not yet had call to utilize it.
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office is familiar with the system, according to Lt. Paul Rissetto, but he said they use a procedure called A Child Is Missing when an alert is necessary, as it can be enacted more quickly and has proven effective in locating missing persons.