Amsterdam Police now have a new way of finding missing people dealing with autism, Alzheimer’s or other issues that impair their communication skills.
We’ve seen the stories, people with disabilities that impair their communication skills going missing.
One recent case involving a Colonie man with autism found after two days lost in the woods.
Other cases can be heartbreaking.
“We’ve had some children pass away due to them running off,” Kristie Jones, Enrolled son in the Take Me Home program, said.
Jones has concerns for her own son, 8-year-old Noah.
“For instance, my son ran off thank goodness he came back because I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Today, Kristie was the first Amsterdam resident to sign up for the Take Me Home, a database that helps officers identify and assist people like Noah should they go missing.
On Tuesday, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara joined Amsterdam Police in announcing the implementation of the program.
The system includes a current digital photo, demographic information, and caregivers contact info.
Take Me Home also allows the police to transmit that information to fellow officers on patrol.
“We are talking about our most vulnerable citizens,” Santabarbara said.
Santabarbara, who has a son with autism, says the program can help a number of people.
“Some citizens that may be affected by Alzheimer’s, diabetic shock, or a number of related conditions that can affect your communication where you can’t immediately say who you are and what help you need.”
Santabarbara says similar programs like Operation Lifesaver are under-utilized and he’s hoping scores of new families will sign up for both programs.
As for Kristie, it took only about five minutes to enroll her son Noah.
“It gives me good peace of mind.”