Bill Text: NJ S3183 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes Emergency Green Alert System for missing members and veterans of Armed Forces.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2018-11-26 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee [S3183 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3183-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3183

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 26, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  CHRIS A. BROWN

District 2 (Atlantic)

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes Emergency Green Alert System for missing members and veterans of Armed Forces.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning missing members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.2015, c.184.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)     a.   As used in this act, "at-risk service member or veteran" means an active duty member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, the Reserve components thereof, or the National Guard who is reported to have a physical or mental health condition that is related to the member or veteran's military service and goes missing under circumstances that indicate that the member or veteran may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

     b.    The Attorney General shall establish a "Emergency Green Alert System" which shall provide practices and protocols for a Statewide system for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a missing at-risk service member or veteran as defined in subsection a. of this section. The program shall be a voluntary, cooperative effort between State and local law enforcement agencies and the media, including but not limited to print, radio, and television media outlets.

     c.     The Missing Persons Investigative Best Practices Protocol Unidentified Deceased Persons Investigative Guidelines, promulgated by the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police, shall be revised to incorporate procedures for issuing an alert regarding an at-risk service member or veteran.  The guidelines and procedures shall ensure that specific health information about the at-risk service member or veteran is not made public through the alert or otherwise. 

     d.    In situations that also meet the criteria for activation of a Silver Alert pursuant to P.L.2009, c.167 (C.52:17B-194.4 et seq.) or an MVP Emergency Alert pursuant to P.L.2015, c.184 (C.52:17B-194.9 et seq.), the lead law enforcement agency, in consultation with the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police, shall determine, based on the totality of the circumstances, which system would more effectively assist in locating the at-risk service member or veteran, and the guidelines and applicable procedures for that system shall be followed.

     e.     The Attorney General, with the assistance of the participating media, shall develop and undertake a public education campaign to inform the public about the Emergency Green Alert System.

      f.    The Attorney General may adopt guidelines to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

      2.   (New section)     a.   An Emergency Green Alert authorized under this section may be activated in accordance with the following requirements, which shall be incorporated into the guidelines required by subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.      , c.      (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

      b.   The law enforcement agency receiving the missing person report shall be the lead law enforcement agency.

      c.    The Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police, upon request, shall assist the lead law enforcement agency in the investigation of an Emergency Green Alert.

      d.   Each of the following criteria shall be met before an Emergency Green Alert may be issued:

     (1)   the person believed to be missing is an at-risk service member or veteran;

     (2) the person is believed to have a physical or mental health condition that is related to the member or veteran's military service;

     (3)   a missing person report has been submitted to the local law enforcement agency where the person went missing;

     (4)   the person believed to be missing may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury;

     (5)   there is sufficient information available to indicate that an Emergency Green Alert would assist in locating the at-risk service member or veteran, including but not limited to information indicating that the at-risk service member or veteran was the operator of, a passenger in, or otherwise conveyed by a motor vehicle at the time the at-risk member went missing; and

     (6)   sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the at-risk service member or veteran, including but not limited to accurate information concerning any motor vehicle that the at-risk service member or veteran may have been operating or may have been a passenger or otherwise conveyed.

      e.    When an Emergency Green Alert is activated pursuant to this section, the procedure followed by law enforcement and the broadcast of alerts by participating media shall be conducted in the same manner as an MVP Emergency Alert pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2015, c.184 (C.52:17B-194.11).

 

     3.    Section 3 of P.L.2015, c.184 (C.52:17B-194.11) is amended to read as follows: 

     3.    a.   When an MVP Emergency Alert or Emergency Green Alert is activated pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2015, c.184 (C.52:17B-194.10) or section 2 of P.L.     , c.       (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the participating media shall voluntarily agree, upon notice from the State Police, to transmit emergency alerts to inform the public of a missing vulnerable person or at-risk service member or veteran as defined in subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.     , c.       (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) who resides within their broadcast service regions.  The notice shall be provided through the State Police operational dispatch unit.

     b.    The alerts shall be broadcast as often as possible, pursuant to the guidelines established by the New Jersey Broadcasters' Association, for the first three hours.  After the initial three hours, the alert shall be rebroadcast at such intervals as the investigating authority, the State Police, and the participating media deem appropriate.

     c.     The alerts shall include a description of the missing vulnerable person or at-risk service member or veteran, including notice that the missing vulnerable person or at-risk service member or veteran may appear agitated or upset, instructions as to whether the missing vulnerable person or at-risk service member or veteran should be approached and, if appropriate, instructions on how to approach the missing vulnerable person or at-risk service member or veteran, and such other information as the State Police may deem pertinent and appropriate. 

     In the case of an Emergency Green Alert, the alert shall include information identifying the branch of United States Armed Forces, the Reserve components thereof, or the National Guard of which the at-risk service member or veteran served. 

     The alerts also shall provide information concerning how those members of the public who have information relating to the missing vulnerable person may contact the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.

     d.    When a determination is made by the lead agency, and the State Police concur, that sufficient information indicating that at the time the person went missing the person was the operator of, a passenger in, or otherwise conveyed by a motor vehicle, concurrent with the notice provided to the broadcast media, the State Police operational dispatch unit shall also notify the Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Highway Authority, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority of the MVP Emergency Alert or Emergency Green Alert.  Through the use of their variable message signs, the department and the affected authorities shall inform the motoring public that an MVP Emergency Alert or Emergency Green Alert is in progress and provide information relating to the missing vulnerable person and how motorists may report any information they have to the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.  The State Police operational dispatch unit shall also ensure that employees of the New Jersey Transit Corporation who are on duty at any time when the MVP Emergency Alert or Emergency Green Alert is in effect receive notice of the [MVP Emergency Alert] alert, along with all pertinent information.

     e.     The State Police shall in a timely manner update the broadcast media and any other entity receiving notice of the MVP Emergency Alert or Emergency Green Alert with new information, when appropriate, concerning the missing vulnerable person.

     f.     The alerts shall terminate upon notice from the State Police.

(cf: P.L.2015, c.184, s.3)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month next following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires the Attorney General to establish an "Emergency Green Alert System," which would provide practices and protocols for the rapid dissemination of information regarding an at-risk member or veteran of the United States Armed Services.

     An "at-risk service member or veteran" is defined as an active duty member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, the Reserve components thereof, or the National Guard who is reported to have a physical or mental health condition that is related to the member or veteran's military service and goes missing under circumstances that indicate that the member or veteran may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

     The law enforcement agency receiving the missing person report would be the lead law enforcement agency.  The Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police, upon request, would assist the lead law enforcement agency in the investigation of an Emergency Green Alert.

     An Emergency Green Alert would be activated only if: 

     (1)   the person believed to be missing is an at-risk service member or veteran;

     (2) the person is believed to have a physical or mental health condition that is related to the member's or veteran's military service;

     (3)   a missing person report has been submitted to the local law enforcement agency where the person went missing;

     (4)   the person believed to be missing may be in danger of death or serious bodily injury;

     (5)   there is sufficient information available to indicate that an Emergency Green Alert would assist in locating the at-risk service member or veteran, including but not limited to information indicating that the at-risk service member or veteran was the operator of, a passenger in, or otherwise conveyed by a motor vehicle at the time the at-risk member went missing; and

     (6)   sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the at-risk service member or veteran, including but not limited to accurate information concerning any motor vehicle that the at-risk service member or veteran may have been operating or may have been a passenger in or otherwise conveyed. The bill specifies that, in situations where an at-risk service member or veteran satisfies the criteria for the activation of a Silver Alert or Missing Vulnerable Person Alert, the lead law enforcement agency, in consultation with the Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit in the Division of State Police, would be required to determine, based on the totality of the circumstances, which system would be more effective in assisting to locate the missing person, and the guidelines and applicable procedures that should be followed in the particular instance.

     When an Emergency Green Alert is activated, the participating media would transmit emergency alerts to inform the public of a missing at risk service member or veteran who resides within their broadcast service regions.  The notice would be provided through the State Police operational dispatch unit.  The alerts would be broadcast as often as possible, pursuant to the guidelines established by the New Jersey Broadcasters' Association, for the first three hours.  After the initial three hours, the alert would be rebroadcast at those intervals as the investigating authority, the State Police, and the participating media deem appropriate.

     The alerts would include a description of the at-risk service member or veteran, including notice that the missing at-risk service member or veteran may appear agitated or upset, instructions as to whether the missing at-risk service member or veteran should be approached and, if appropriate, instructions on how to approach the service member or veteran, and any other information as the State Police may deem pertinent and appropriate.  The alerts also would include information identifying the branch of United States Armed Forces, the Reserve components thereof, or the National Guard of which the member or veteran served.  Finally, the alerts would provide information concerning how members of the public who have information relating to the at-risk service member or veteran may contact the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.

     When a determination is made by the lead agency, and agreed with by the State Police, that sufficient information indicates that, when the at-risk service member or veteran went missing, the service member or veteran was the operator of, a passenger in, or otherwise conveyed by a motor vehicle, the State Police operational dispatch unit will be required, concurrent with the notice provided to the broadcast media, to notify the Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Highway Authority, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority of the Emergency Green Alert.  Through the use of their variable message signs, the department and the affected authorities would inform the motoring public that an Emergency Green Alert is in progress and provide information relating to the at-risk service and how motorists may report information to the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.  The State Police operational dispatch unit also would ensure that employees of the New Jersey Transit Corporation who are on duty at any time when the Emergency Green Alert is in effect receive notice of the Emergency Green Alert, along with all pertinent information regarding the at-risk service member or veteran.  The State Police would be required to provide timely updates with new information when appropriate.  The alerts would terminate upon notice from the State Police.

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