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Green Alert Bill Passes Wisconsin Senate

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says 20 veterans commit suicide every day. The Green Alert bill now in the Wisconsin Legislature would alert the community of a missing veteran. (Wikimedia Commons)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says 20 veterans commit suicide every day. The Green Alert bill now in the Wisconsin Legislature would alert the community of a missing veteran. (Wikimedia Commons)
 By Tim MorrisseyContact
January 29, 2018

MADISON, Wis. – For 18 days last spring, U.S. Air Force veteran Corey Adams of Milwaukee was missing, but it took eight days before he met the criteria to warrant an official law enforcement search.

Adams' body was recovered in a pond just a mile from his home. His family, which notified authorities immediately when he went missing, went to State Sen. LaTonya Johnson and asked for help, in hopes that no other family would have to go through such a traumatic event.

Johnson, with help from members of both political parties, wrote legislation proposing a Green Alert, similar to the familiar Amber and Silver alerts. With a Green Alert, the media would immediately send out a broadcast when a veteran goes missing.

"If Corey would have went missing in Afghanistan his brothers and sisters would have risked limb and life to make sure that Corey was brought home,” Johnson points out. “Corey did make it home. When he went missing the very least we should have been obligated to do is to search for him – and we didn't. We dropped the ball."

Last week the Green Alert bill, which is officially called the Corey Adams Searchlight Act, was unanimously passed on a voice vote in the Senate.

Johnson says she knows no law will bring Corey Adams back to his family.

"But I wanted to show his family, and I believe this Capitol wants to show our veterans' families that their lives mean something,” she stresses. “Making sure that they're OK after the sacrifices that they've made for us is the very least that we can do."

Adams was diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar disorder, and family members knew there was something wrong immediately when he left home without his phone, money or medications. They organized search parties at once, but had to wait eight more days before law enforcement got involved.

Johnson says her colleagues from both parties immediately supported the Green Alert Bill.

"People come up to me and they say what a good idea the bill is,” she relates. “And so that means a lot, especially sometimes in terms of how contentious politics can be, especially this building in Wisconsin."

The bill now moves on to the Assembly, and then if passed, to the governor for his signature.

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