Wisconsin is close to creating an Amber Alert-like system for missing veterans

Posted at 2:42 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 14:46:25-05

There are Amber Alerts to find missing children and Silver Alerts for seniors. Now, Wisconsin is hoping to become the first state to issue an alert for vulnerable veterans: Green Alerts.

The Wisconsin Senate unanimously approved the bill in late January. Now, it’s awaiting approval of the state Assembly, where it’s also expected to pass. It then moves to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 473 was inspired by the family of Corey Adams, a US Air Force Reserve sergeant who served in Afghanistan in his last deployment.

When he went missing from his Wisconsin home in March 2017, his family told officers Adams suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.

“Despite his family filing a missing person report within hours of his disappearance, it took eight days before he was determined to meet the critical missing criteria by the police,” said state Sen. LaTonya Johnson, one of four primary authors of the bill.

Adams’ body was found in a pond 18 days later.

“If a soldier goes missing in the field, his or her unit will send out a search and rescue party,” Johnson said in a statement.

“When an at-risk veteran goes missing at home, it should be all of our jobs to assist with the search however we can.”

Senate Bill 473

The Green Alert will be issued in the same way Amber and Silver alerts are. It will appear to residents on billboards or text messages.

Jason Johns, founder and president of the veterans advocacy group No Man Left Behind, said the original idea was to call it a Gold Alert.

“In the army, you think of gold as the officer, but we all wear green,” he said. So it became the Green Alert.

Senate Bill 473 will protect either a veteran or an active member of the armed forces, national guard or the military reserves.

In order to be considered at-risk, the person must have physical or mental health condition that is related to their service.

“It’s going to make law enforcement officers more aware of what they might be coming across,” Johns said.