Realizing a loved one is missing and unable to communicate can be a scary experience for families. A new program launched by the Jackson Police Department will give caregivers peace of mind that their loved one can be quickly identified and safely brought home. The newly-created Take Me Home Program is designed to help missing people with Autism, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Down Syndrome or any other condition that makes it difficult to communicate.
In the past, Jackson officers have encountered lost adults and children who have difficulty communicating, and it has prevented them from quickly finding their caregivers. The police department encourages caregivers of people with limited speech abilities to sign up for the Take Me Home Program.
A new section of the City’s website has been created for residents to learn about the program and sign up. By going to cityofjackson.org/takemehome, caretakers can fill out an online form where they list their loved one’s information such as name, address, description, condition, and emergency contact. A current photo of the person is also required. All of the information provided will be used by officers to care for someone who has communication difficulties and needs help getting home.
Director Elmer Hitt says Take Me Home is based on similar programs nationwide and has been successful in helping families with missing loved ones. “The program is free to sign up and the information you provide is confidential,” Director Hitt said. “Enrolling in this program will assist our officers in caring for your loved one during their time of need.”
The Jackson Police Department has been working on initiatives to better serve residents with special needs. Earlier this year, the Jackson County Intermediate School District donated 25 sensory bags to the police department. The bags contain toys, noise-canceling headphones, blankets, and communication boards. They’ve been placed in every patrol car to help provide comfort and communication if officers encounter a child who is non-verbal or on the Autism spectrum.