Sergeant David Dupont and Corporal Tom Colalillo
On October 9, 2008, Governor Charlie Crist signed Executive Order 08-211 enacting Florida's Silver Alert, which allows the immediate broadcast of information to the public regarding missing senior citizens with dementia, Alzheimers, or other cognitive impairment. The Executive Order provides a coordinated response between local and state law enforcement to quickly broadcast important information to citizens so they can assist law enforcement in the rescue of the endangered person and notify law enforcement with helpful information.
The statewide Silver Alert is a plan to aid local law enforcement in the rescue or recovery of missing elderly persons who suffer from irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties. Silver Alerts are activated through the investigating local law enforcement agency that is in the best position to notify the media and disseminate the information through avenues such as neighborhood telephone alerts, emails, web site postings, and other methods the agency may have to communicate with its citizens in the affected areas.
Our governor and the Florida legislators rely on the cooperation of many Florida agencies to make the Silver Alert effective and successful, including the Florida Chiefs of Police, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. However, the most important persons in this effort are our citizens, residents, and visitors – everyone needs to be alert, read the Silver Alert messages, and contact officials with any information as quickly as possible.
After a Silver Alert was issued for an elderly man who was missing from Lake County, troopers were put on alert. The missing man, who has Alzheimer’s, was last seen driving his silver 1998 Lincoln town car, possibly heading to Ohio. Luckily, a truck driver from Tampa spotted the vehicle after he saw the Silver Alert information on an I-95 message sign. The truck driver called *FHP on his cell phone and directed troopers to the vehicle traveling southbound on I-95 in St. Johns County. Sergeant Dupont and Corporal Colalillo stopped the driver who was clearly confused and did not know where he was or where he was going. Receipts found in his vehicle indicated that he had spent the night in a motel in East Palatka. Troopers called his wife in Altoona, Florida to come and pick him up. While they waited for her to arrive, the elderly man was taken to a nearby restaurant to get something to eat.