Sen. Jacob Candelaria
SANTA FE ― Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-26-Bernalillo, pre-filed a bill to create the Brittany Alert.
Similar to the Amber Alert, the Brittany Alert creates a notification system for law enforcement when an individual with severe physical, mental or developmental disabilities goes missing.
“The Brittany Alert will provide law enforcement an important tool to help locate our state’s most vulnerable residents if they go missing,” Candelaria said. “Time is of the essence when it comes to recovering someone who is missing, and Brittany Alert promptly disseminates information to law enforcement and our communities who can respond quickly to bring the person home safely.”
Candelaria was inspired to introduce the bill after hearing the story of Brittany Redford-Gonzales — a developmentally disabled 25-year-old with the intellectual capacity of an 11 year old who went missing for 18 days.
Brittany’s panicked family was finally reunited with her after discovering she was 200 miles from home with an ex-boyfriend. Authorities were not able to issue an Amber Alert because Brittney’s disappearance did not fit the narrow scope of circumstances covered by the Amber Alert system.
“If law enforcement officials were able to issue a Brittney Alert, the odds of quickly returning Brittney to her worried family would have greatly increased,” Candelaria said. “We need to do anything we can to make it easier to locate missing and endangered individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The Brittney Alert is a simple and effective tool that we can implement to keep vulnerable New Mexicans safe.”
The State Senate approved the Brittany Alert unanimously during the 2015 legislative session. The bill, however, never received a vote on the House Floor.