Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $149,795)
Searches for individuals with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s and developmental disabilities such as autism are low frequent yet high-risk events for most agencies. The State of New Jersey has seen dramatic increases in its populations of individuals suffering from dementia and autism, with a corresponding increase in requests for assistance for individuals who have eloped.
The New Jersey State Police Urban Search and Rescue Unit, Missing Persons and Human Trafficking Unit, State Search and Rescue Coordinator, and the Missing in New Jersey Association, in partnership, propose to use $149,795 in funds from this grant to launch a comprehensive program to enhance its existing technical search capabilities by upgrading current project Lifesaver tracking technology, implementing cellular-based tracking systems, and to upgrade field technical search information technology infrastructure through the purchase of tracking receivers, app-based licenses, computer equipment, the delivery of tracking operator training and establishing an internal training capability within the State Police Rescue School. Further, we intend to provide radio and cellular-based trackers from these programs to rural and low-income families at no cost, based on need, through NJ Missing Persons Foundation.
This program will better prepare and equip Law Enforcement agencies within NJ tasked with investigative and technical search responsibilities, which will dramatically reduce the duration of elopements from safe environments. This program will directly decrease the risk of injury or death to at-risk individuals suffering from dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease or developmental disabilities such as autism.