GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – When an elderly man in Green Bay went missing from his home on Susan Lane Monday morning, people living around his neighborhood were sent a silver alert, detailing his description.
Captain Clint Beguhn with the Green Bay Police Department says the alerts are not that common.
“Most of the time, we’re actually successful early on in searching the residence, talking to neighbors, finding these individuals sooner, but we do work up to do a silver alert after we’ve done those things,” Beguhn says.
The man, 75-year-old Thomas Van Lanen, was found in a field near the Fleet Farm on the city’s west side.
Silver alerts are used for missing elderly people, often with cognitive issues like dementia. In Van Lanen’s case, he does have a medical condition that would cause him to be forgetful.
Beguhn says, “Apparently, this is the first time that the gentleman has left his residence like this before, but due to his medical condition, he may be confused or going for a walk and got lost.”
Beguhn also says silver alerts are a great way to find a missing person faster because “There’s only so many police officers that are working at a time, so the more of the public we can get, the more of our eyes and ears are out there.”
Green Bay police also sometimes work with the fire department to use infrared drones to find missing people.