Lawmakers in Wisconsin have proposed a new bill that would require missing veterans to be listed and treated as actual missing people by the police immediately after the report has been made.
According to the Veterans Affairs (VA), there are currently more than 22 million military veterans in the United States. Whether they served in World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, these individuals have sacrificed a great deal so that we can live in peace.
Unfortunately, though, veterans also suffer from a myriad of problems, including depression. The VA’s National Registry for Depression states that 11% of all veterans over the age of 65 suffer from depression. Furthermore, veterans who’ve experienced combat often suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) when they return to the states. Depression, along with PTSD, often cause veterans to go missing — and this is something that WI lawmakers are hoping to fix.
Dubbed the Corey Adams Searchlight Act, the newly proposed legislation will create a third alert for the state: a Green Alert. Wisconsin uses Amber Alerts to signal when a child has gone missing, and they use Silver Alerts to signal when an elderly person has gone missing. If passed, the Corey Adams Searchlight Act will create a Green Alert for when a veteran has gone missing.
The Corey Adams Searchlight Act is named after Corey Adams, a Milwaukee Air Force veteran who went missing for more than two weeks before being found dead. Perhaps the worst part of this story is that Adams’ family filed a missing person’s report, but the police didn’t list Adams as a missing person until eight days after the fact. When veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other health conditions go missing, eight days is simply too long.
Adams’ family hopes that other families of veterans can avoid similar heartache with the newly proposed legislation. If approved, the bill will ensure that missing veterans are treated as missing people immediately after they’ve been reported to the police. This would presumably streamline search and rescue operations, which will likely save lives in the process.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much, yet they don’t always receive the support that they need to manage the challenges of service-related health conditions. This bill gives us the tools we need to offer aid when a veteran goes missing,” explained Senator LaTonya Johnson, who was responsible for co-authoring the Green Alert bill.