An idea From the United States ...
With help from a new program called "Take Me Home," Monroe police hope to enlist the help of the community when people with disabilities and young children wander away from home.
The program will enable police to put out automated telephone messages to residents in the area where an individual was last seen. The message will provide a description of the individual and ask residents to step outside and look for the lost person.
Police Chief Ron Schleuter said he learned of the program at the Louisiana chiefs of police conference in March and heard that it had been successfully instituted in Slidell. A Pensacola, Fla., police officer developed the program.
The only cost associated with instituting the program will be printing informational materials.
"This will be a valuable tool not only for the Monroe Police Department, but also the families," Schleuter said.
"When we get a call, our commanders can bring up their information and get any special information on the individual."
The program will be of particular importance for autistic people, according to Lynda Huggins with the Northeast Louisiana Autism Society.
"They are runners," Huggins said."They will run away and they are drawn to water," she said. "The most common cause of death among autistic children is drowning."
Autistic individuals also have "trigger mechanisms" that can scare them and cause them to run away from police, Huggins said.
Triggers can be things like flashing lights or loud sirens. Schleuter said the new database will allow families to note the triggers so police will know how to approach autistic individuals.
The program is also aimed at individuals with Alzheimer's disease, who sometimes can't tell police where they live.
The Monroe Star (US), 28th April 2009