FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Phyllis Mundy
Mundy: Governor signs bill to create statewide missing persons advisory system
HARRISBURG, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee for the 2009-10 legislative session, said legislation to establish the statewide Missing Endangered Person Advisory System is now law.
"Act 126 provides protections to vulnerable citizens who become lost – particularly our seniors with Alzheimer's disease or other disorders," said Mundy, D-Luzerne. "Pennsylvania has nearly 2 million senior citizens, and I'm sure this program will save lives."
Mundy said the success of the Amber Alert system, which is used when state police determine a kidnapped child is in imminent danger, created interest in having similar programs for other vulnerable groups.
She said lawmakers wanted to create a single notification system for cases other than Amber Alerts to avoid having a number of different alerts that could create confusion and weaken the effectiveness of all the systems.
Pennsylvania State Police are responsible for establishing guidelines for operating MEPAS, as well as educating local law enforcement agencies and the public about its availability. Law enforcement agencies can request activation of the system when they believe public assistance is needed to locate missing, at-risk individuals.
"People should know that just as you would in a situation with a missing child to enable an Amber Alert, call your local law enforcement if a loved one with a physical or mental condition or disability is missing, regardless of age, to enact the Missing Endangered Person Advisory System," Mundy said.
The measure signed into law (S.B. 976) was a companion measure to a similar bill (H.B. 726) that originated in Mundy's committee.