GENEVA – Geneva police will be offering a program where family members can have a person with dementia, autism or other intellectual disability entered in a database to aid officers in locating them if they wander away from home.
Police Officers Charles Parisi and Penny Boedigheimer presented details of the Citizens At Risk program at the Oct. 1 City Council meeting .
The database would include a current photograph, personal information, address, family members, places they frequent among other details the family might want to provide, Parisi said.
“The database would provide officers with immediate information should that person go missing,” Parisi said. “Rather than sending an officer to the house, and then trying to disseminate all this information and wasting time while that person is driving or wandering away. It gets the information to the officers immediately.”
The program is geared for people with some type of cognitive disability, such as dementia, he said.
Parisi said they are working on getting bracelets that will be numbered so they are specific to a person, but will also have the police department’s phone number on it. If the person leaves Geneva, the next jurisdiction would quickly learn who to call, Parisi said.
Statistics show that six of 10 people with Alzheimer’s wander and become lost, Parisi said.
Other information police would request involves the person’s likes and dislikes, known associates and where they are most likely to wander, he said.
“Many are attracted to traffic and bodies of water,” Parisi said. “We are always concerned with the risks and dangers of the river. … If this individual likes to hang out near bodies of water and is attracted to the dam. It would be one of the first places we would check because it would be so dangerous.”
All the information would be in the software in each squad’s computer so officers can access it immediately if someone reports a missing at-risk family member, Parisi said.
“What we are currently working on is the bracelet itself,” Parisi said.
The metal MedicAlert bracelet requires two hands to get it off and are uniquely numbered for law enforcement to be able to locate the person through a partnership with the MedicAlert Law Enforcement Agency Portal, Parisi said.
Boedigheimer said the MedicAlert Foundation Law Enforcement Agency Portal is a program started last year through a Department of Justice grant to cover free medical IDs and 24/7 support for at-risk populations.
“The program was initially supposed to be free to law enforcement,” Boedigheimer said. “I did finally make contact with someone and will be following up with them. … We are still in the process of trying to get final details if the program is still free and what all is involved with it. It’s a great tool that we can use.”
Geneva residents who are interested in the program can call 630-232-4736 and ask for Parisi, Boedigheimer or Officer Mark Russo.