Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $118,790)
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) is looking to expand their existing SafetyNet Tracking Program, a search and rescue program that utilizes modern tracking technologies to help locate lost or wandering individuals with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease and developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder.
The proposed project will include an extensive public awareness and outreach program using a social media approach to reach citizens and inform them about the SafetyNet Tracking Program. The PCSO will use both paid advertisement with Facebook and other Facebook platforms, such as Instagram and Messenger, and through postings on our own social media platforms (i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and NextDoor). The public awareness and outreach program also will be used to inform citizens to the sponsorship program offering SafetyNet tracking bracelets free-of-charge as well as the yearly service charges being waived for the client. This initiative is to help those low-income individuals who are not able to afford the product or the services. Funds will be used to procure 300 tracking bracelets from SafetyNet Tracking Systems (vendor) and offer them free to qualified low-income individuals.
Another primary activity of the project is to have additional sworn personnel participate in the comprehensive SafetyNet initial training, so that more deputies are trained and qualified to utilized in search and rescue operations. The PCSO will also continue its own internal “refresher” training to sworn personnel who have completed the initial training course. The goal of the refresher course is to stay abreast of any changes in techniques, advanced technologies and best practices.
Lastly, the PCSO will use funding to procure 12 additional tracking kits used by and assigned to law enforcement personnel who have successfully participated in the comprehensive SafetyNet initial training course. The goal of the project is to expand the existing program to offer products and services free-of-charge to low-income individuals, while increasing the enrollment of the program and training additional law enforcement personnel and procuring additional tracking kits to better serve the community and those individuals with forms of Alzheimer’s and autism spectrum disorder.
Both the PCSO and partnering agencies, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida (CARD-USF) and St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD), employ a person-centered approach that minimizes restrictive interventions. CARD-USF is a non-profit who specializes with children with autism spectrum disorder and has a direct link to individuals and families of individuals.