April is National Autism Awareness Month and tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. Individuals with medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, Autism, and Down Syndrome have a propensity to wander. As police officers, we are often called to a home or area to assist a caregiver with locating a person who has wandered. The department recognizes that caregivers of loved ones with these disorders have a huge responsibility.
On Friday, May 30, the Montgomery County Police Department and Autism Speaks will host the second annual “Autism Night Out” at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville. It is our hope that this event will provide valuable safety information to loved ones. We also believe this event will be a great opportunity for our officers to receive additional information from caregivers about Autism.
What: “Autism Night Out” Event – Hosted by the Montgomery County Police Department and Autism Speaks
When: Friday, May 30, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Public Safety Training Academy, 9710 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville 20850
For Who: Caregivers, Parents, Loved Ones, and Community Members Who Want to Learn More About Autism
Activities will include:
- Specially trained search and rescue police officers and fire & rescue personnel will demonstrate specialized equipment and answer questions.
- Officers will be distributing Autism safety items
- Caregivers will be able to develop a 911 “script” with the assistance of search and rescue police officers.
- Moon bounce
- Meet the K9 Unit
- Tour emergency vehicles
- Safety Sleep shirts available
The police department runs a Project Lifesaver Program to address the problem of wandering. Eligible individuals with Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and related disorders are outfitted with a personalized bracelet. The bracelet emits a unique automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. If the participant wanders, loved ones call 911. Officers who have been trained in the Project Lifesaver System then use radio frequency tracking equipment to locate the participant. Project Lifesaver officers are also specially trained in the methods necessary to communicate with a person who has these disorders.
Caregivers, community members, and officers can all work together to prevent wandering and ensure that individuals are quickly located if they do wander. For more information about Autism Night Out or for assistance in dealing with wandering, please contact Officer Laurie Reyes or Officer Tara Wimmer at 301-840-2788 or via e-mail (Laurie.Reyes@montgomerycountymd.gov or Tara.Wimmer@montgomerycountymd.gov)