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. On average, the Montgomery County Police Department investigates two missing (wandering) Autistic children cases per week. The department recognizes that caregivers of loved ones with these disorders have a huge responsibility.
The Autism/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Outreach Unit has created a layered approach to Autism /ID awareness, through education, outreach, follow up, empowerment, and response.
A caregiver/parent can take steps to prevent wandering and can make preparations in case their loved one does wander:
Make every effort to make it difficult for your loved one to wander. Install an alarm if possible.
Reach out to neighbors for support. Examples of neighbor letters can be found below.
Create a 9-1-1-script– information that will be helpful to emergency responders should your child wander. Include a Google map of the area showing bodies of water. Do not hesitate to tell officers about the dangers of drowning. An example of a 9-1-1 script can be found below.
Make sure the loved one has identification on them at all times.
Take a full-length photo and head-shot of your loved one. Store the photos electronically so that if the person wanders, the photos can be sent to law enforcement quickly.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if your loved one has wandered so that police can respond.
Click Here to View 4 Page Brochure
Neighbor Letter for Autism in English
Neighbor Letter for Autism in Spanish
Neighbor letter for Alzheimer’s in English
Neighbor Letter for Alzheimer’s in Spanish
For more information and/or assistance, please contact:
Officer Laurie Reyes at 240-773-6525 or via email (Laurie.Reyes@montgomerycountymd.gov)
Chief Manger Addresses The Attendees
MCP Autism Ambassador Jake getting ready to give his speech.
Attendees Listening to Opening Remarks