Hendricks County legislators: New Green Alert will help find missing, at-risk veterans

STATEHOUSE (May 1, 2024) – A new public notification similar to Indiana’s Amber Alert will soon help first responders locate missing and at-risk veterans thanks to efforts supported by Hendricks County lawmakers.

A new law, which passed during the 2024 legislative session, will create a Green Alert to notify the public that a veteran or military service member is reported missing and believed to be at risk of being hurt or hurting themselves. The alert will function similarly to the state’s successful Amber Alert for missing children and Silver Alert for missing seniors. 

“Veterans who go missing often face unique circumstances like post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts, which set them apart from other missing person cases,” said State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton). “The Green Alert would notify the public and first responders immediately, which could result in more leads and a better chance to bring them home safe.”

A Green Alert could be issued by the Indiana State Police for veterans, active service members, Indiana National Guard members and reservists within 48 hours of the individual being reported missing. Like other alerts, the notification will include a description and last known location of the individual and if they are considered at-risk to themselves or others.

“Every minute and hour count when someone is missing and at-risk,” said State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon). “We hope to follow the success of the Amber Alert by having this specific notification for our service members – both past and present – to help find them more quickly and offer resources to help.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Indiana’s veteran suicide rate is higher than the national average. In 2021, nearly 140 Hoosier veterans died by suicide and over 6,000 died nationwide.

“Veterans are vulnerable to mental health issues and may need additional support following their service and return to civilian life,” said State Rep. Craig Haggard (R-Mooresville), a veteran and member of the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee. “This alert is to help those in crisis, which could save lives and help them get back on track.”

For 24/7, confidential crisis support, veterans or their loved ones can dial 988 then press one or send a text to 838255 for the Veterans Crisis Line. Callers do not have to be enrolled in Veteran Affairs benefits or health care to connect. Hoosiers can also visit veteranscrisisline.net and join a chat with a VA responder.

“This new alert is a commonsense approach to make sure our veterans and active service members who are missing and may be at risk can get the help they need,” said State Rep. Becky Cash (R-Zionsville), a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee. “These Hoosiers have sacrificed so much for our freedoms, and they deserve our full support.”

House Enrolled Act 1021 passed unanimously out of the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate, and received support from the Military/Veterans Coalition of Indiana, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Guard Association of Indiana.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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