Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $99,990)
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit is requesting 150,000 dollars in US Department of Justice funds to establish and operate a holistic, locally based, proactive program to locate or prevent the wandering of individuals with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease or developmental disabilities such as autism, who due to their condition, wander from safe environments. The proposed Bringing the Lost Home Project will assist local emergency personnel in improving the search performance for locating missing residents, especially these populations that have a high propensity to wander. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 Unit plans to purchase the Bringing the Lost Home program from Scent Evidence K9. The Bringing the Lost Home Project utilizes non-restrictive interventions in preparing individuals and families, and in responding to individuals who have wandered from safe environments. The program has been successfully implemented in several states.
The lead agency of the Bringing the Lost Home Project will be the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office K9 unit. The Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit will partner with Senior Citizens Incorporated and Magnolia Manor Nursing Home, and utilize its school resource officers within each county-funded school to respond effectively to individuals with special needs, to raise awareness of the wandering risks of these populations, and to ensure that Individual Preparedness Plans are in place. In addition, emergency management agencies and law enforcement officials in the surrounding counties will have access to missing persons response services through memorandums of understanding. Liberty County Sheriff’s Office will serve elderly African Americans in nursing homes through the Bringing the Lost Home program.
The proposed Bringing the Lost Home Project will consist of the Scent Evidence K9 Bringing the Lost Home public awareness campaign, the Scent Evidence K9 Missing Persons Response Protocol, a trained scent-discriminate canine, the Scent Evidence K9 M77 K9 handler training, distributing Scent Evidence K9 Human Scent Preservation Kits which include Individual Preparedness Plans, and the SEKR human scent collection device and materials. Goals of the project are to 1) Enhance public awareness in Liberty County, Georgia of wandering behavior of individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities to decrease incidents of wandering and encourage community involvement in prevention and finding missing persons, and 2) Provide emergency protocols, response training and responder scent collection materials for Liberty County Georgia first responder agencies that facilitate the safe rescue of individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities who wander away from safe environments.