A new use of alerts displayed on signs along the Interstate 5 corridor helped a Washington State Police trooper safely find a missing 92-year-old Puyallup-area man Thursday.
Paul Olson had been missing from his home for several days.
The search for Olson marked the first time the signs werer used to find an adult; they usually are part of the Amber Alert system to help find missing children.
“It’s a good tool to have,” Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. “Having the ability to flip the switch and get that stuff up there right away turns out to have paid off.”
The department trained on the system, called the Endangered Missing Person Alert, with the State Patrol in December.
It’s an effort involving the State Patrol, state Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies to find missing people who do not meet requirements for an Amber Alert.
It puts out information about vehicles connected to missing persons, which is how the trooper spotted Olson’s vehicle just south of Monroe.
Olson reportedly suffers from early signs of dementia. His family drove to meet him and bring him home Thursday, the sheriff’s department said.