Region 8 News Investigates: Arkansas Silver Alert system

BAY, AR (KAIT) - Questions are being raised about how well the Arkansas Silver Alert system works after an alert was issued for a missing Bay woman one day after she was found.

Bay Police Chief Paul Keith said BPD Assistant Chief Tommy Cole submitted the Silver Alert documentation to Arkansas State Police on Saturday, November 24 at 10:37 p.m. for Terry Lynn Smallman of Bay after a family member reported her missing around 4 p.m. that same afternoon.


Smallman was found at a motel in Jonesboro the morning of Sunday, November 25, around 3:30 a.m. after she was last seen Saturday afternoon at her home in the 100 block of Alexander Road.


Arkansas State Police issued the Silver Alert activation notice Monday, November 26 at 11:53 a.m.


Upon receiving the email alert from ASP, Region 8 News notified the public of Smallman's disappearance at 1:35 p.m., unaware that Chief Keith sent a cancellation notice to ASP at 1:20 p.m.  


"The Silver Alert was canceled that afternoon, or that morning because she had already been found," Chief Keith said.


Region 8 News did not receive the cancellation notice from Arkansas State Police until Tuesday, November 27 at 4:11 p.m.


ASP Public Information Officer Bill Sadler said a glitch in the server that hosts the Silver Alert system caused a 24 to 36-hour delay of the emails.


The Information Network of Arkansas, based in Little Rock, hosts the server that withheld the email notifications.


Sadler said INA corrected the problem, and created a system to alert technical support staff if a mass amount of emails gets held up in the system in the future.

Arkansas State Police issue Silver Alerts for missing seniors, and adults with Alzheimer's or other cognitive disorders.

The Silver Alert system was created 2009 in part by District 74 House Representative Butch Wilkins.

Wilkins said the program has run smoothly since its inception.  "I think that what happened here is not the norm. It's the exception," he said. "I think generally it's working well on the local level, as far as them getting responses. Problems are rare, but we've had some around the state. We're always watching it. It gives a lot of peace of mind to families."

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