TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Senator Jim Beach that requires the Attorney General to establish a plan to disseminate Amber and Silver alerts through social media was signed into law today.
“Posting information about Amber or Silver Alerts through social media, where many in today’s digital world get their information and share it with others, is practical and will improve the chances of a missing person being found,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer, Middlesex).
The law (S-1152) requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the State Police and others, to disseminate an Amber and Silver alert through social media to inform the public of a child abduction or missing senior citizen that has occurred within their broadcast service regions. The emergency alert should be provided though the State police operational dispatch unit.
“Making information more readily available to the general public through social media will aid law enforcement in reuniting families with their missing relatives,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington, Camden). “With this law, lost children and seniors will have a better fighting chance at being found and brought to safety.”
The Amber alert is a voluntary, cooperative program between the law enforcement community and the broadcast media to send an emergency alert to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed that the child’s life is in danger. The law requires the emergency information disseminated to include, but not be limited to: a) a description of the missing child; b) any known details of the abduction and abductor; and c) a recognizable photograph of the missing child if available.
The law also requires the Office of the Governor, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health, and the Department of Human Services, and any other appropriate State, county or municipal entity to disseminate “Amber Alert” information made available by the State Police through social media.
A Silver Alert is a public notification system that broadcasts information about missing persons, especially seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other mental disabilities. The Attorney General, in consultation with the Division of State Police, are now required under this law to develop and establish a plan to disseminate Silver Alert information through social media accounts maintained by the Division of State Police. The Silver Alert information to be disseminated should include, but not be limited to, a description of the missing person, any known details of the disappearance, and a recognizable photograph of the missing person.
The law takes effect immediately.