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Arizona sheriff plans for registry of dementia patients

November 17, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. (AP) — The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is planning to create a registry of Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients to help authorities find them more quickly if they go missing.

Sheriff Doug Schuster said it would be worthwhile for his office to offer the northwestern Arizona county a registry that covers a range of diseases and characteristics, the Mohave Valley Daily News reported this week.

Schuster said he would like to have work on a registry started by next spring. Families or caretakers could also add information about children and adults with autism, Down syndrome and developmental disabilities, he said.

“What we would do is come up with a feasible mechanism to put in place and encourage cities to participate,” Schuster said. “We don’t want to step on any toes. We believe it’s important to afford families the opportunity to reach out in every one of the cities.”

Volunteers with the county’s search and rescue unit raised the registry idea following the search in June for a Bullhead City boy with autism. The 7-year-old boy went missing one morning and was found dead the next day in the Colorado River.

Searchers began considering starting a registry for youths and adults, aiming to help authorities find missing people with conditions that lead to wandering, said Amanda Kaufman, commander of search and rescue’s Kingman unit.

“We’d have the ability to record, then get that information right away,” Kaufman said.

Schuster has been examining existing registries in other cities. Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler have maintained a similar registry for several years.

The city’s Return Me Safe program is designed to help locate people who wander due to a variety of conditions.

“Alzheimer’s patients tend to focus on certain things when they go missing,” said Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the Chandler Police Department. “Having that information aids in our searches.”

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Information from: Mohave Valley Daily News, http://www.mohavedailynews.com

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