Two senators believe that when one of America’s veterans goes missing, an alert system should kick in to find him or her.
Sens. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, and Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, are sponsoring the Green Alert Act of 2019, which would establish a system to assist in the search for veterans who have gone missing, Fox News reported.
Conceptually, the system would operate much like Amber Alerts used to find children and Silver Alerts used when elderly citizens go missing.
Wisconsin implemented a Green Alert system last year after veteran Corey Adams went missing. Because he did not meet existing criteria for a search, police did not begin looking for him immediately.
He was found dead after being missing for 18 days.
The first step of legislation Ernst and Hassan are sponsoring would be creating a federal commission to look at existing models in various states and determine how best a nationwide system could operate.
“As a combat veteran, I understand how important it is for our veterans to have access to the support and care they have earned,” Ernst said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, sometimes due to stress and trauma associated with their time in uniform, many of our veterans tragically go missing. Our bipartisan and common-sense legislation will help states, like Iowa, implement the Green Alert system, and will ensure our vets get the attention they deserve,” she said.
Hassan said veterans have earned their nation’s help.
“Far too many of our brave veterans experience mental and emotional trauma as a result of their service, and as we work to build a country that is ever-worthy of their service, we must ensure that they have the support and resources they need to thrive in civilian life,” Hassan said, according to the Nashua Telegraph.
“The Green Alert Act would provide federal assistance to help states implement Green Alert systems to locate and assist missing veterans. This is a common-sense step we can take now to ensure that we can be there for our veterans who have so valiantly served to defend our freedoms.”
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, who operates an informal Green Alert that relies on social media, said that a national Green Alert for veterans can help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, WMUR reported.
“(It will) destigmatize this and get our veterans comfortable with coming forward and getting the care that they need,” he said.
“A lot of veterans, for various reasons, come up missing,’’ Bolduc said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “We are trying to develop some kind of system like there is for the elderly and children.”
Master Corporal Michael Austin, a spokesman for the Delaware State Police, said his state’s Green Alert system, created last year, is an important addition, according to Delaware Public Radio.
“We can use different de-escalation techniques and interact with that person on a different level, having that background that they are military and that they suffer from a service-related condition,” he said.
“A lot of these folks have had combat experience,” he said. “So their interaction with someone who may be approaching them who is armed, they will have a whole different response to use possibly than someone without experience with weapons, who may be in possession of weapons.”
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