New Jersey Creating New Alert System For 'Most Vulnerable' Missing People

Jan 19, 2016

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a new law that creates a special missing person alert for people with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities.

This story was produced by WHYY's The Pulse. 

The MVP or "most vulnerable people" alert system will make it possible to spread information about a missing person more quickly.

It skips the 24-hour waiting period that's typically in place before an alert is issued, said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, who supported the bill.

"They have complicated health issues, and to lose somebody just because we didn't get the message out in time is not acceptable," said Lampitt, D-Camden.

State and local police will collaborate to get the word out on highway billboards and broadcast media. Advocates for those with intellectual disabilities say the system will make it possible to spread extra information about a person.

"They may experience challenges with communication or social interaction, and so the MVP emergency alert system will help disseminate information to the public about how to best approach an individual in this situation," explained Sharon Levine, director of governmental affairs at the Arc of New Jersey.

State police officials said they are working to implement the new system, which will run in similar ways to the already existing Amber and Silver alert systems.