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Purple Alert ready to help 'fill the gap' in efforts to find missing people

Florida Purple Alert
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 08:14:01-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Arc of Florida advocates for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and CEO Alan Abramowitz said they listen to those people and their families to see what they need.

That’s why they are excited to see the implementation of the Purple Alert.

“Alerts that were out there like the Silver Alert, the Amber Alert, all these other alerts. They are very good alerts. They kind of left out a group of people that might find themselves in danger in the community and need a quick reaction from law enforcement. So, I think it really filled the gap," said Abramowitz.

The Purple Alert will be used to help in finding missing adults suffering from mental and intellectual disabilities. It will put a priority on helping find those who may have some sort of brain injury or a disability not related to drug abuse.

“Just last week I was working with one of our chapters that had someone that kept eloping, kept leaving. It may have been the perfect type of case. They found the individual but it may have been the perfect kind of case where they would call law enforcement and determine whether there needs to be a purple alert," said Abramowitz.

Like with the Silver Alert, the public will find out about missing people through an emergency alert on cell phones. It will also be published on highway message boards.

“As with all our alerts, it’s very important that the public is the main participant in this. So we need you all to go to the FDLE website or Google Florida Purple Alert plan and go and sign up so you can receive the notifications on your phone so you can be aware in case you happen to be in the right place at the right time," said Chad Brown, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Missing Persons and Offender Registration.

According to a bill analysis, the death rate of someone missing more than 72 hours with a mental disability is nearly 90%. FDLE says more than 300 missing persons in Florida were found using Silver Alerts.

In order to receive Purple Alerts, create your profile by using this link. Click on “My Subscriptions” then click on the arrow next to “FDLE Subscriptions – Choose your alerts “, and check the box next to any alert types you'd like to receive.