Enact A Statewide Silver Alert in Oregon - Save Lives
Enact A Statewide Silver Alert in Oregon - Save Lives
Why this petition matters
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Many of us searching for Ralph Davis Brown, missing since May 16, 2021, have met countless people concerned about their aging relatives or friends. Everyone had a story to tell about memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer's. Most of us know the difficulties as our loved ones age, as most desire independence and deny reliance on others. Many times, our loved ones hold tightly, dearly to their independence as it were their last belonging on earth.
It is not an easy process, emotionally or logistically, to strip a loved one of car keys, or petition for a loved one's driver's license revoked or suspended. Besides, a suspended license does not always prevent a vulnerable person from driving away. Typically, at least one household member still has a vehicle. While a spouse may seem just a little forgetful, family members may not expect a sudden decision to go for a drive to some place from memories past. There are countless possibilities. There is one simple solution that can save lives -- to send out a statewide alert for those in vehicles, so law enforcement in every jurisdiction, as well as the countless citizen helpers can bring our loved ones home.
At 76 years of age, Ralph Davis Brown left home to head for home, a bit confused on where home was. Ralph decided to drive after his wife reminded him that his license had been suspended. His wife immediately called 911. Local police and deputies issued a BOLO. However, within minutes he was out of his county and in another. Local law enforcement searched for Ralph and tried to call Ralph. Ralph circled for 4 hours never getting more than 30 miles from home, yet, he has not been found, as of November 7th, when we published this petition.
Ralph Davis Brown devoted his life to public service: joining the National Guard as a young man; becoming an educator and school administrator; getting elected as mayor of Cornelius, twice; and serving as Oregon State Representative in 2002. So it is not surprising that his family members are thinking others and asking for Oregon to amend the existing Silver Alert Act in Oregon.
In 2014, the state of Oregon enrolled SB 1577 . The Silver Alert that was passed in 2014 was a good step in the right direction; however, the entire bill seemed focused on those who wander on foot, not on those who go missing by vehicle. This 2014 act required each law enforcement agency in Oregon to create an individual plan for missing vulnerable adults.
While we are confident in the ability of local law enforcement agencies and their local-individual Silver Alert plans as they have great success locating the walking wanderers, we need a uniform statewide plan for people who fall under existing criteria for being vulnerable, but who have left in a vehicle. A vehicle is a critical aggravating and dangerous factor, and aside from Ralph Brown still missing, very recent cases out of Hillsboro, Prineville and Pendleton all involved vulnerable citizens missing in vehicles who eventually succumbed to the elements.
Oregon’s population over 65 are mobile, most have been driving all their lives, and many have access to cars. We need a Silver Alert that takes these facts into account. For those who have access to a vehicle, even a few minutes could put them in another county's jurisdiction, and many end up in the state's jurisdiction on highway. Going missing in a vehicle makes this a situation where vulnerable drivers are a danger to themselves or others.
Approximately 30% of Oregon Drivers are over the age of 65 according to ODOT. This is not suggesting that simply being over 65 makes one a vulnerable driver. The Alzheimer's Association estimates 69,000 people in Oregon over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's. Many other health issues also contribute to the vulnerability of a driver, and vulnerability should be the criteria for a statewide Silver Alert.
Florida's Silver Alert System is an excellent model that has demonstrated huge success in finding vulnerable adults who have gone missing in a vehicle. The Oregon Statewide Silver Alert plan would provide a coordinated response between local and state law enforcement to ensure immediate broadcast the entire state, so all of Oregon is aware of the vulnerable person missing. Specific medical conditions and addresses need not be released.
Oregon State Police would send out request an immediate changeable highway message ODOT and the Oregon Emergency Broadcast System if the following conditions are met:
1. Agency finds that a specific vehicle is involved in the missing person incident
2. Vehicle make, model, year and plate are available for public dissemination.
This emergency broadcast would be released to news agencies across the state and beyond.
Aside from Ralph Davis Brown not being found, there have been at least three other Oregon cases this year where the drivers may have been found alive if there was an immediate broadcast. One driver's vehicle sat one county away from home on Hwy 26 over 24 hours before being noticed by someone who recognized the vehicle from an agency's Facebook post.
The public in Oregon is known for stepping up and helping when called upon. This is demonstrated daily on social media, where one share has saved a life.
Please help by sharing this petition and reaching out to your local Oregon state representatives. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYou.../leg-search.html