Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the Bringing The Lost Home Pilot Project bill into legislation in late June 2019. The breakthrough bill was sponsored by Florida House Representative, Scott Plakon.
Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, and The Alzheimer’s Project CEO, Debbie Moroney, partnered to introduce the bill earlier in the year to help law enforcement better serve their high-risk autism and dementia populations by raising missing person awareness, mitigating risk and improving search performance through the use of scent trailing recognition assessments.
The project will be implemented in Bay, Seminole, and Sumter Counties and will enable 3 Sheriff’s Offices to introduce and maintain a proven and effective missing person’s response and location program. The program is focused on recovering individuals who have a propensity to wander or elope with a rapid response and recovery. The bill provides Scent Preservation Kits® in the pilot counties to families with loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, or another dementia, and autism. The Alzheimer’s Project will identify groups and areas in need of services and will help educate residents about the Scent Kits and Missing Person Awareness for at-risk groups. The bill also includes Missing Person Response Protocol and Scent Discriminate K-9 Training for the participating counties which will impact law enforcement response capabilities by increasing search success and decreasing the time and resources needed to find missing persons.
Bringing The Lost Home Bill – Protecting People At Risk of Wandering
Florida has the second-largest Alzheimer’s Disease population in the U.S. with over 520,000 residents living with the disease. That number is projected to climb to 720,000 by 2025. Studies show that 60% or 3 of every 5 persons with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia will wander and go missing. The numbers are almost as high for children with autism. The American Pediatric Association states that 50% of those with children with autism will wander/elope and go missing at least once before age 17.
Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley has made it his company’s mission to not only improve missing person response capabilities for communities but to protect individuals before they go missing. Coley created The Scent Preservation Kit® or “Scent Kit” to provide responders with a pre-collected uncontaminated scent article before the search begins.
Sheriff’s Offices in Sumter, Seminole, and Bay Counties have already received their first deliveries of the Scent Preservation Kits for distribution. The kits are easy to use and only take a few minutes to complete. A person simply wipes the included gauze pad repeatedly around the neck or underarm area and places the pad in a specially-treated jar. The jar is then sealed, labeled and stored in a safe place in their home or adult care facility. If a person has wandered or goes missing, a family member or caregiver can present the kit to responders. This allows responders to begin searching immediately with the best possible scent source. “Typically, the scent is gathered after someone is reported missing from an article of clothing or a personal item. That item is then handled or may have been handled previously by others, contaminating the odor and resulting in a lengthy dismissal process and dramatically decreasing the chance of locating someone who is missing. The Scent Kit eliminates the dismissal process and gives K-9 responders a head start which can save a person’s life,” said Coley.
Missing Person Response Protocol and K-9 Trailing Training
In addition to increasing missing person awareness for at-risk populations, Bringing The Lost Home Project also includes training to improve agency missing person search response and performance and K-9 Unit trailing capabilities for the participating Sheriff’s Offices. Coley, a former FBI Forensic Canine Operations Specialist, will bring his newly developed Missing Person Response Protocol and Human Scent Discriminate K9 Training to each agency. Coley’s Missing Person Response Protocol is producing successful results for early adopters and was recently endorsed by Florida State University Emergency Management and Homeland Security Department. The Protocol recently led the Winnebago County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit to the location of a missing IL man and helped find an FSU student that had been missing for 3 days in a heavily wooded area. Both men were found alive using the Missing Person Response Protocol search processes.
Coley and Scent Evidence K9 will also conduct Human Scent Discriminate K9 Trailing Training in Sumter, Seminole and Bay County K-9 Teams and responders. Coley has developed an effective system of standardized scent discriminate trailing techniques and scent collection methods that are producing higher success rates than traditional tracking practices. “We are seeing between 80% and 90% confirmed trail results using our program. It’s making a difference in creating safer communities and saving lives,” said Coley.
Scent Kit Programs
Sumter, Seminole and Bay County Sheriff’s Offices will begin rolling out their new Scent Kit programs in the next few weeks.
For more information on Scent Kits and how you can protect your loved ones before they get lost or go missing visit thescentkit.com
Learn more about The Alzheimer’s Project HERE.
Learn more about Autism and Wandering HERE.
©2019 The Scent Preservation Kit® and all included instructions/checklist materials are registered properties of Scent Evidence K9, LLC