Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $149,986)
With $150,000 in funding from the BJA FY22 Kevin and Avonte Program (Category 1), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) will implement a proactive and inclusive program to assist New York City residents with dementia and developmental disabilities by increasing public awareness and improving recovery efforts through the distribution of low-tech, silicone wristbands as unobtrusive and non-restrictive indicators/aids.
The program, “New Yorkers Helping Neighbors in Need,” will use grant funds to design and implement a citywide initiative that will utilize wristbands as identifiers of at-risk individuals that can assist law enforcement and the public in possible aided situations. The wristbands will be made available to family and school staff, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, as well as police precincts, so that they can be easily accessible to members of the public. NYPD personnel will conduct citywide outreach to increase public awareness of missing persons with dementia and developmental disabilities, including what to look for, how to approach these individuals, and whom to notify. Trained personnel will also provide Department-wide program awareness and resource information to sworn members of the NYPD in the use of technology, strategically developed search and rescue techniques, and behaviors and characteristics common to cognitive conditions to facilitate improved response and recovery efforts to incidents of wandering.
In addition to outreach efforts conducted by members of the Missing Persons Squad, the NYPD can utilize personnel assigned to its Community Affairs Bureau and precinct-based neighborhood coordination officers to conduct outreach to the families, guardians, and facilities that care for individuals with dementia and developmental disabilities. The same personnel can also conduct awareness efforts to the broader public via the Department’s multiple social media platforms to provide awareness of and education for individuals with dementia and developmental disabilities in New York City who are in danger of wandering. With the necessary funding, the NYPD Printing Section has the capacity for large-scale production of printed material for the program (i.e. posters, flyers, brochures, cards). Posters will be distributed to precinct stationhouses, community centers, libraries, public transit facilities, and parks. In this way, this program will be able to tap into the already existing resources: the eyes and ears of the 35,000 uniformed members of the NYPD and its 8.5 million residents.