The new Bay County Scent Kit Program distributes free Scent Preservation Kits® to those in need with Alzheimer’s Disease or Autism who are at risk of wandering and going missing. Deputy Mario Lupica with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office stopped by the WJHG studio with Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley to talk about the Scent Kits that are now available at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on Live with Paris.
The Scent Kits help law enforcement K9 responders find missing persons faster by providing a pre-collected scent article for the dogs to trail. A person’s unique scent is as identifiable as a fingerprint to a trained scent discriminate K9. By preparing a kit in advance, family members or caregivers will be able to provide responders with an uncontaminated scent article that hasn’t been touched by other people or pets. This increases the dog’s capability to locate someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or Autism who may have wandered and gone missing.
The Scent Kit Program is part of the Bringing The Lost Home Project that was signed by Gov. DeSantis in June 2019. Scent Evidence K9, in partnership with The Alzheimer’s Project, introduced the bill to help responders locate those at high risk of wandering and bring them home safe. Florida’s Bay, Seminole, and Sumter counties were selected to participate in the program pilot.
Florida has the nation’s second-highest Alzheimer’s Disease population with over 540,000 diagnosed. That number is expected to dramatically increase to 720,000 by 2025. 3 in 5 or 60% of those with Alzheimer’s will wander and go missing. Coley’s life-saving Scent Kits® have already been used to find missing persons in several states.
Children with autism are also at high risk of wandering. The American Pediatric Association states that almost 50% of children on the spectrum will wander and go missing at least once before age 17. The Scent Kits® are also available to these families at no cost through the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Bringing The Lost Home Project also provides Scent Discriminate K9 Training and Missing Person Protocol services to the 3 participating Florida Counties. This training is designed to help responders conduct efficient and effective searches and increase the location success of missing persons.
For more information, CLICK HERE to watch Paris’ interview.