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State Senate bill could allow law enforcement to send out alerts for missing veterans with PTSD

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Senate Bill 1622, authored by State Sen. Carlos Uresti (TX-19), would create a “Camo Alert” for missing veterans and active-duty servicemen and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury or mental illness.

“Having a tool like a Camo Alert could save the lives of those who put their own lives at risk in sacrifice to our country. As a Marine, the father of a Marine and the brother of a Marine, I am constantly looking for ways to help our soldiers and veterans,” Uresti said. “This bill would not have moved through the Senate without the help of veterans who are committed to looking out for their fellow wounded warriors.”

“I would go away for weeks at a time. I'd just be wandering around like a lost soul. I didn't know if I was coming or going,” said Ruben Cadena, a Vietnam veteran who has lived with PTSD for decades. He finally got proper treatment in 1991.

The alert is similar to AMBER Alerts or Silver Alerts and would be sent out in similar ways. Luis Cortes, a National Guard veteran who now serves as a commander for a local chapter for disabled veterans, spoke at the Capitol in a hearing earlier this month.

“It'll allow law enforcement to act on it in a different manner, specifically when a veteran suffers from PTSD,” Cortes said. “I have family members that suffer from severe PTSD, and I know how they feel when they're actually feeling lost, missing, when they don't know where they're at.”

The bill now heads to the state House for debate. If it becomes law, Texas would become the first state with an alert system for active-duty personnel and veterans. Florida legislators have discussed a similar bill, but nothing was filed during the current legislative session.

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