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MedicAlert Foundation to Launch Law Enforcement Program Providing Aid for Missing Person/Wandering Emergencies

L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Agency Portal) Program Provides Free MedicAlert Services to Community Members At-Risk for Wandering; Also Provides Law Enforcement with Training and Assistance during Search and Rescue Related Efforts

SALIDA, California (August 12, 2016) – MedicAlert Foundation has developed a law enforcement partnership program named L.E.A.P., which aids law enforcement agencies during the search for a missing community member and helps protect vulnerable residents who are at-risk of wandering and becoming lost. Through the new L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Agency Portal) program, law enforcement agencies will now be able to enroll local residents (and their caregivers), via an online portal, into the MedicAlert national registry/database to receive a free medical identification bracelet and free 24/7 emergency support services. Additionally, the program will connect law enforcement agencies with resources to train officers on how to handle wandering incidents and communicate appropriately with local residents who have cognitive disabilities. MedicAlert is an important part of the overall safety plan for families with a loved one at-risk of wandering, with a 98% success rate for locating missing persons when MedicAlert products and services are utilized.

MedicAlert has developed the program as part of its Alzheimer’s grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. While the wandering statistics for Alzheimer’s disease are staggering (6 in 10 adults with Alzheimer’s or related dementia will wander); they are also extremely concerning for individuals with autism. 50% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders will elope. MedicAlert has developed specialized services to address wandering emergencies: MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, and MedicAlert Found® is for children and adults with autism spectrum and developmental disorders. “We know that wandering is a grave concern for families, especially those with loved ones who have a dementia or autism spectrum diagnosis,” says David Leslie, President and CEO for MedicAlert Foundation. “Therefore, we set out to create a specialized program that is three-fold; it gives at-risk residents our products and services to ensure they are protected, provides around-the-clock emergency access for local law enforcement (should the resident go missing) with the aim of quickly finding the missing individual, and finally provides our law enforcement partners with the resources they need to successfully manage wandering incidents.”

The Department of Justice’s – Bureau of Justice Assistance has worked since 2009, to effectively use the funds appropriated for the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Assistance program, to improve the safety of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and expand law enforcement’s understanding of the problems encountered when a person living with Alzheimer’s is reported missing. Since the launch of the L.E.A.P. program in March, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and MedicAlert have been successfully working with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to enroll local residents and provide officers with training resources. Knowing the wealth of information that MedicAlert can provide to law enforcement before, during, and after a wandering emergency, BJA encourages law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to make immediate use of this program which can help agencies in developing good-will within their communities, and further aid in the building of a national registry of at-risk residents and prevent further loss of lives.

The L.E.A.P. program is open to all U.S. law enforcement agencies and is currently accepting program applications which are available online at www.medicalert.org/leap.

Friday, August 12, 2016