Silver alerts - when Alzhimer's victims wander

IL police announce new system that works like Amber alerts.

You've heard of Amber alerts. Now Illinois is creating Silver Alerts - a system to notify police departments statewide when an elderly person has gone missing, the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL) reports.

Sponsored by state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, who has two aunts who suffer from Alzheimer's, the law creating Silver Alerts went into effect July 1. Its benefits were evident Thursday morning, said Larry Trent, director of the Illinois State Police.

"We received a message at 6 o'clock this morning of a missing senior," Trent said. "At 6:15, a DeKalb County sheriff located the person after a minor traffic accident. Now, it doesn't always happen that fast, but it did this morning."

Police assured citizens that officers will make the alerts a priority. "Two things cops pay attention to: children and seniors," Trent said.

Springfield resident Tammy Lackland said her 82-year-old grandmother recently wandered out of her house undetected but luckily was discovered by neighbors.

"In the short time that she's had (Alzheimer's), I've watched my grandmother forget her immediate surroundings, as well as certain memories we hold so dear and that are very important in our lives," she said. With the new law, she said, "my family can rest more easily."