Madden/Sweeney Measure Would Train Police To Locate Lost Alzheimer’s Patients

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Stephen M. Sweeney that would establish training guidelines and require State and local law enforcement officers to collaborate with the Safe Return program in locating lost individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has been introduced in the Senate.

“As a retired State Police officer, I’ve seen the panic that family members experience when a loved one with Alzheimer’s can’t be found,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This measure would allow law enforcement officials to receive the training necessary to help safely recover and return Alzheimer’s patients to their families.”

The Senators’ measure, S-2185, would direct the Department of Law and Public Safety to work with the Safe Return program to establish a policy for State and local police personnel to follow to help recover individuals who are lost as a result of Alzheimer’s disorientation.

The measure would require that the policy include guidelines for identifying, communicating with and caring for persons with Alzheimer’s and other related disorders. The measure would also include guidelines for instruction on the methods Safe Return uses in locating lost individuals.

Safe Return is a national program designed to work with local law enforcement agencies to help locate and safely return lost people with Alzheimer’s to their families and care givers.

“Statistics show that 60% of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from disorientation, which can be extremely dangerous if they wander off and get lost,” said Senator Sweeney, D- Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem. “The Safe Return program would train law enforcement officials on the proper procedures to follow to allow for the safe recovery of these individuals.”

The measure now awaits consideration by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee.

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