A Silver Alert is activated when a person with specific cognitive or developmental disabilities, as defined by statute, or a person the age of 65 or older goes missing. Prior to June 2018, this only applied to persons over 65.
The purpose of the Silver Alert program is to establish a notification system that provides immediate information to the public through issuing and coordinating alerts using various resources following a subject "gone missing" when specific criteria has been met.
The goal of the Silver Alert is to locate the missing person, when Silver Alert criteria is met, through efficient information dissemination and communication that results in safe and expedient recovery.
Arizona Silver Alert Criteria
As prescribed by A.R.S. 41-1728, specific criteria are established in statute. DPS will issue a Silver Alert when the following criteria has been met as listed below.
- The investigating agency has taken a missing person report and determined all of the following:
- The person is 65 years of age or older or has been diagnosed with a developmental disability as outlined in ARS 36-551, Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
- All available local resources in locating the missing person have been exhausted (includes BOLO's, APB's, flyers with pictures of the missing person, bulletins, checked area hospitals and jails, contacted other family members and friends, checked in-vehicle location system, cellphone location tracking through carrier, and check other places of residence).
- Missing person disappeared under unexplained or suspicious circumstances, AND
- The missing person is in danger due to any one of the following:
- Mental or physical disability
- Environment or weather conditions
- In the company of a dangerous person
- Other factors that indicate peril
- There is enough information, if disseminated to the public, could assist in safe recover.
Arizona Resource Activations
- Emergency Alert System (EAS): There is no specific code for Silver Alert activations. However, FEMA has given DPS permission to activate a generic EAS coding that is sent to Arizona broadcasters who may interrupt normal broadcast programming.
- Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA): There is no specific code for Silver Alert WEA activations. However, FEMA has given DPS permission to send alerts directly to a wireless phone of device when Silver Alert criteria has been met and the missing subject is in imminent danger of death. These types of alerts activations will be rare and only sent in extreme situations to a small area or region where the subject went missing or was last known to be.
- Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Vehicle Messaging System (VMS) Boards (only when missing person is believed to be in a vehicle).
- All Points Bulletin (APB): Regular broadcasts to law enforcement.
- The DPS Alerts Website.
- The Arizona DPS Mobile Application (for Apple and Android).
- Social Media (Twitter and Facebook), Text, and Email.