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New 'Green Alert' aims to keep missing veterans safe

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Legislators, law enforcment officials and veterans advocates joined Gov. Carney while he signed the bill into law Wednesday

Among the nineteen bills Gov. John Carney signed into law Wednesday was one creating a “Green Alert,” which will go out to law enforcement officials when an at-risk veteran goes missing.

It’s similar to the Gold Alert, which is currently issued for missing senior citizens, people with disabilities or those who are suicidal.

Master Corporal Michael Austin, spokesman for the Delaware State Police, says a separate alert will help law enforcement officials tailor their response for missing veterans.

“We can use different de-escalation techniques and interact with that person on a different level, having that background that they are military and that they suffer from a service-related condition,” he said.

Austin notes the primary condition the Green Alert will help officials look out for is  post-traumatic stress disorder.

“A lot of these folks have had combat experience,” he said. “So their interaction with someone who may be approaching them who is armed, they will have a whole different response to use possibly than someone without experience with weapons, who may be in possession of weapons.”

State Rep. John Viola sponsored the bill. He noted the high rates of suicide among veteran.

The new law is modelled after one in Wisconsin.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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