Silver Alert System Approved in Erie County

November 4, 2010 Updated Nov 4, 2010 at 5:43 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

November 4, 2010 Updated Nov 4, 2010 at 5:43 PM EDT

A new law is on the books in Erie County to help ensure the safety of residents who suffer from Alzheimer's and other related illnesses. The Erie County Silver Alert System was approved unanimously by the Erie County Legislature Thursday during regular session. The law was sponsored by Legislator Edward Rath III and will help expedite search efforts for missing Alzheimer's patients and individuals.

"The approval of the system is extremely important to our region which has a high rate of residents with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia," said Rath. "By creating this law we organize the efforts of law enforcement and media outlets to ensure rapid response in the event that a person with dementia is reported missing."

The system would work similar to an Amber Alert for missing children. The Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will now work with the Erie County Sheriff's Department to develop guidelines and procedures for issuing an alert.

"Knowing that our community cares and is compassionate enough to enact legislation that could protect and potentially save someone from tragedy should be of comfort and give hope to those affected by the disease," said Western New York Alzheimer's Association Executive Director Leilani Pelletier.

Erie County is now the second county in Upstate New York have a Silver Alert System, following Niagara County.