Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $150,000)
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's (CMPD) Missing Persons Unit has experienced several instances where individuals with Alzheimer's, Dementia, Autism, Down Syndrome, and other cognitive conditions have wandered and become lost. Each of these individuals are valuable to the community and quickly locating them is crucial to their wellbeing. In 2015, the CMPD's Project Lifesaver Program was established to provide members of the community with equipment that will assist with locating them if they wander away. Individuals enrolled into the program are equipped with a transmitter, a battery-powered bracelet that emits a radio-tracking signal for 24 hours. The bracelet allows the Missing Persons Unit to respond rapidly when a victim is missing.
Since the program's implementation, there were several instances where equipment from the program has reduced the time it took to locate wandering victims. Due to having a limited budget for equipment, the Missing Persons Unit is experiencing difficulties with enrolling additional clients into their Project Lifesaver Program. In addition to having a limited budget for equipment, the Missing Persons Unit does not have adequate funding to support training expenses.
The CMPD's Missing Persons Unit seeks $150,000 to expand their Project Lifesaver Program by employing a person-centered approach that minimizes restrictive interventions by purchasing additional tracking equipment for Project Lifesaver Clients, sending Missing Person Unit staff to receive training, and partnering with the Western Carolina Chapter (WCC) of the Alzheimer's Association, Autism Charlotte, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) System to provide Project Lifesaver services to at risk individuals.
According to the WCC of the Alzheimer's Association, there are more than 13,000 individuals living with Alzheimer's, Dementia, or other cognitive related disorders in Mecklenburg County and 42,000 people caring for individuals living with these conditions. Autism Charlotte provides services to more than 500 youth and children in Mecklenburg County and CMS is the second largest school system in North Carolina, comprised of 180 schools serving more than 140,000 students. These organizations have identified several individuals to enroll into the Project Lifesaver Program however, the Missing Persons Unit does not have adequate funding to support equipment related purchased.
Funds from this grant program will allow the CMPD's Missing Persons Unit to expand their Project Lifesaver Program by partnering with local agencies to identify at risk individuals to enroll in the program, tracking wandering clients, and sending Missing Person Unit personnel to receive training so that they can obtain their Project Lifesaver Certifications.