Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo to expand the reach of missing persons notices via social media was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-2519) would require the attorney general, in consultation with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), to develop a plan to disseminate Amber and Silver Alert information via NJSP social media accounts.
Any other appropriate state, county or municipal entity may also choose to broadcast the information using its social media accounts.
“Just as people use outlets like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, law enforcement officials can also use social media to reach the public when someone is missing,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) “By employing networks we already have in place to further publicize Amber and Silver Alerts, we can reach a far larger audience at no additional cost and help reunite families as soon as possible.”
Under the bill, information posted on social media may include, but not be limited to, a description and recognizable photograph of the missing person and any known details of the abduction or disappearance.
Under New Jersey law, broadcast media may use Amber Alerts to transmit an emergency alert to inform the public of a child abduction. Similarly, Silver Alerts provide for the rapid dissemination of information about a missing person who is believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairment.
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.