Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $150,000)
Over the last three (3) years (2018-2020) the City of North Miami Police Department (NMPD) received 100 calls for service to locate missing individuals with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease or developmental disabilities, such as autism. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, wandering is the most life-threatening behavior associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Yet from 2019 to 2020 the number of calls for service, as described above, increased by a staggering 40%.
The City of North Miami seeks to support its local law enforcement as it addresses the public safety challenge of reducing injury and death of missing individuals with dementia and developmental disabilities who, due to their condition, wander from safe environments. The North Miami Police Department’s (NMPD) Project LOST (Locating Our Survivors Timely) will employ Project Lifesaver International’s (PLI) “Gold Standard” in locating techniques to aid in the search and rescue of individuals, with cognitive disabilities. The NMPD is committed to partnering with PLI to train six (6) officers and one (1) sergeant as Certified Electronic Search Specialists.
NMPD’s Project LOST will serve 75 participants. Efforts will be coordinated through community partners to include, the North Miami Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Services, Inc.; Plaza Health Network- an assisted living facility; and Autism Speaks South Florida. Citizens enrolled in Project LOST wear a small transmitter on the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized frequency signal. The receiver is lightweight and can fit into a backpack or luggage. It is self-sufficient, and does not require subscriptions, cell coverage, or satellite reception to function. PLI certified officers from the Drone Unit will be deployed when an aerial view is needed. The implementation of the program will decrease the amount of time it takes to locate a wandering Project LOST participant to within 30 minutes of notification, as evidenced by PLI’s standing safe recovery time over the last three (3) years. While maintaining a 100% success rate, Project Lifesaver member agencies have had in excess of 3,500 successful rescues since the program’s inception.
Program materials will be developed by the City of North Miami’s communications team. The North Miami Police Department’s Public Information Officers (PIO) will also conduct a media campaign at the launch of the program.
The North Miami Police Department will evaluate the program’s effectiveness through process and outcome evaluations. Data will be collected pre and post implementation to assure effectiveness in addressing the objectives of the program.