(A) There is hereby created the statewide emergency alert program to aid in the identification and location of any individual who has a mental impairment or is sixty-five years of age or older, who is or is believed to be a temporary or permanent resident of this state, is at a location that cannot be determined by an individual familiar with the missing individual, and is incapable of returning to the missing individual's residence without assistance, and whose disappearance, as determined by a law enforcement agency, poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the missing individual. The program shall be a coordinated effort among the governor's office, the department of public safety, the attorney general, law enforcement agencies, the state's public and commercial television and radio broadcasters, and others as determined necessary by the governor. No name shall be given to the program created under this division that conflicts with any alert code standards that are required by federal law and that govern the naming of emergency alert programs.
(B) The statewide emergency alert program shall not be implemented unless all of the following activation criteria are met:
(1) The local investigating law enforcement agency confirms that the individual is missing.
(2) The individual is sixty-five years of age or older or has a mental impairment.
(3) The disappearance of the individual poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the individual.
(4) There is sufficient descriptive information about the individual and the circumstances surrounding the individual's disappearance to indicate that activation of the alert will help locate the individual.
(C) Nothing in division (B) of this section prevents the activation of a local or regional emergency alert program that may impose different criteria for the activation of a local or regional plan.
(D) Any radio broadcast station, television broadcast station, or cable system participating in the statewide emergency alert program or in any local or regional emergency alert program, and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any station or system participating in either type of alert program, shall not be liable to any person for damages for any loss allegedly caused by or resulting from the station's or system's broadcast or cablecast of, or failure to broadcast or cablecast, any information pursuant to the statewide emergency alert program or the local or regional emergency alert program.
(E) A local investigating law enforcement agency shall not be required to notify the statewide emergency alert program that the law enforcement agency has received information that meets the activation criteria set forth in division (B) of this section during the first twenty-four hours after the law enforcement agency receives the information.
(F) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the use of the federal emergency alert system unless otherwise authorized by federal law.
(G) As used in this section:
(1) "Cable system" has the same meaning as in section 2913.04 of the Revised Code.
(2) "Law enforcement agency" includes, but is not limited to, a county sheriff's office, the office of a village marshal, a police department of a municipal corporation, a police force of a regional transit authority, a police force of a metropolitan housing authority, the state highway patrol, a state university law enforcement agency, the office of a township police constable, and the police department of a township or joint police district.
(3) "Mental impairment" means a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behavior, or ability to live independently or provide self-care as certified by a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28,HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.
Effective Date: 2008 SB87 06-20-2008