It is something no one wants to see come across their phone, an alert issued by the state asking for help to locate a missing person.

In Indiana, these alerts are Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts and Blue Alerts. Formerly Indiana residents knew Amber Alerts were for children and Silver Alerts were for seniors. In 2018 changes were made to the criteria for alerts that have caused some confusion for Indiana residents. Silver Alerts now include children, whereas before, they were exclusive to seniors.

So, what is the difference in these alerts, and what does the public need to know when they receive one?

Amber Alerts are for children under the age of 18 who have been abducted and in danger of serious bodily harm or death.

Silver Alerts are for missing endangered adults, high risk missing people or missing endangered children. Most often, but not always, it pertains to those with a mental or physical disability.

Blue Alerts are for law enforcement that is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty and the suspect has not been taken into custody, poses a serious threat or their location is unknown.

When an Amber Plan is activated, it goes to the Indiana Data and Communication System, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Cell Phones, TV, Radio, the Indiana Department of Transportation and the news/social media. Whereas when a Silver Plan or Blue Plan is activated, the notification only goes to the Indiana Data and Communication System and news/social media.

According to 1st Sergeant Holt of the Indiana State Police prior to the changes that were made in 2018 there was a gap in required criteria which left some in need out.

“In July 2018 we had an Amber Alert that was for people under the age of 18 and at risk for bodily harm,” Holt said. “The Silver Alert was for people over the age of 18 with issues that kept them from making it home, but what do we do with a 10-year-old Autistic child that has gone missing and is drawn to water? They need help too. So, legislators took a look at it and dropped the age limit.”

Those are the fundamental differences in the three alerts. For more information, visit www.in.gov and for anyone with information regarding an alert can call the local department involved with the case or 911.