New law will create alert system for missing veterans

05152017CM060RSVILLA PARK – A new law to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans will take effect Jan. 1, thanks to Sen.Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton’s House Bill 4212 expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system known as the Silver Alert to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service. It was signed into law on Friday.

Per the new law, the public would be notified when a high-risk veteran goes missing. The alert would be similar to Amber Alerts, which are already used by the state to locate missing children.

“Our veterans have put their lives in harm’s way to protect us. When our heroes return home, we need to find ways to look out for them,” Cullerton said. “This new law will help us save lives.”

The effort is the latest in a long line of veteran protections put in place by Cullerton.

In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study covering suicides from 1999 to 2010. It showed roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes.

In response, Cullerton – who served as an Army infantryman from 1990 to 1993 – created and served as a chairperson on the Illinois Veterans Suicide Taskforce to help address the veteran suicide epidemic in Illinois.
Cullerton said this new law takes another step to ensure veterans receive the necessary resources when they return home.

“Veterans need to know they have people behind them and this law takes a step toward accomplishing that,” Cullerton said. “I urge any veteran struggling with depression and suicide to take advantage of free state and federal resources. No one expects you to tackle these internal struggles alone. There is help out there.”

Last General Assembly, Cullerton passed a series of laws to combat the veterans’ suicide epidemic, including a measure to expand the use of service animals to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Cullerton urges veterans and their loved ones to call the confidential and toll-free hotline, 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

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122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463