The Amsterdam Police Department now has a new tool to help identify people with conditions such as autism or Alzheimer’s disease, who may be prone to wandering and may not be able to communicate their identity to authorities.
At a press conference held yesterday at the public safety building, Police Chief Greg Culick announced that the department is now enrolled in a program called Take Me Home, which provides a database of individuals with disabilities. Officers can use the database to either identify someone they find, or quickly disseminate information about an individual who is reported missing.
The program was originally spearheaded by a Florida police officer, Jimmy Donohoe, as a way to help children on the autism spectrum who wander to be returned safely and to be treated with understanding. The program is made available free of charge to law enforcement agencies.
Inclusion in the database is on a voluntary basis. Culick said that parents or caregivers who want to place an individual in the database can download a form from the city’s website, and bring the completed form along with a current picture to the public safety building on 1 Guy Park Ave.
Culick said that there have already been signups from members of the community.
“There was a young lady that came there at the press conference to sign up her autistic son, who she says wanders away now and then. And then I had a gentleman call me this evening and he signed up his wife who is an Alzheimer’s patient who occasionally wanders away from home,” said Culick. “It will be a good extra tool for the police department to use.”