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Purple Alerts to aid families, law enforcement in locating missing persons

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • The new Purple Alert can be activated by local law enforcement when a person with a mental or cognitive disability goes missing.

The Mississippi Legislature established a new Purple Alert during this year’s session meant to aid families and law enforcement in locating a missing person who is known to have a mental or cognitive disability.

Purple Alerts join a public notification system operated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation through the Department of Public Safety that includes Amber Alerts for missing or abducted children and Silver Alerts for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Local law enforcement agencies will be able to activate a Purple Alert.

The Purple Alerts are specifically for missing persons with an intellectual disability or a developmental disability, a brain injury, or another physical, mental or emotional disability that is not related to substance abuse, Alzheimer’s or dementia.

According to the legislation, if a Purple Alert is determined to be necessary and appropriate, the local law enforcement agency must notify the media and persons who have subscribed to receive alert notifications in the jurisdiction where the missing person may be located.

The law enforcement agency also must report the person missing to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

Similar legislation has been passed in Florida and Maryland establishing Purple Alerts. Florida’s system was established in 2022 while Maryland’s was approved this year.

The new law, authored by State Rep. Clay Mansell, passed both chambers unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves in April. It goes into effect July 1.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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