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Florida ‘Purple Alert’ program goes into effect Friday

ORLANDO, Fla. — Chances are you’ve heard of an Amber Alert for missing kids, a Silver Alert for seniors, and a Blue Alert for suspects on the run.

Now officials are set to add another color to Florida’s emergency alert system.

Beginning Friday, a Purple Alert will be put into effect across the state to help notify residents if a person with mental or cognitive disabilities is missing and might be in danger.

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Chad Brown with FDLE said the idea behind the Purple Alert is to get information out about missing persons who may not qualify for an Amber or Silver alert but still be in serious trouble.

“The expectation is that it will fill a gap that we currently have with our other alerts,” Brown said.

Catherine Davey, whose daughter Mae has Down syndrome, knows all too well how critical it is to get information out quickly.

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Mae was 4 years old when she walked herself to the park.

“I said girls, ‘where’s Mae?’ and she was gone,” Davey said.

Davey said that sometimes, Mae doesn’t realize her boundaries and while she wants her daughter to be treated like any other girl, she admits Mae is different from most kids.

“If they know they are dealing with someone with an intellectual disability they are going to treat the situation differently,” Davey said.

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When a Purple Alert is issued, the information regarding the case is distributed throughout the state with a focus on the area where the person was last seen.

Florida’s Purple Alert Plan was established by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on July 1, 2021.

To sign up for notifications when a Purple Alert is activated and learn more about the program, click here.


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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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