The Augusta Police Department is offering a new program it hopes will lead to quicker rescues when someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, another form of dementia, or autism wanders away from home.

The Wanderer Program allows parents, spouses and guardians to sign up and provide information in advance that could help locate a person who leaves home and is unable to return. Lt. Christopher Read, of the Augusta police, said in a news release that the form was developed to help emergency responders find and communicate with people who are prone to wander because of mental and medical conditions.

The registration, which can be done online or by visiting the Police Department, includes a description of the person being registered; pertinent medical information, such as the person’s diagnosis and communication abilities; locations of the nearest lakes, ponds and pools; and favorite hiding spots.

“The information you submit is secure and will only be used by emergency responders in case of an emergency situation,” Read said.

The wanderers database, launched by a Belfast mother whose child has autism, is used by dozens of law enforcement agencies around the state. Waterville police launched a similar program in 2014 to serve that city as well as Winslow, Oakland and Clinton. The program also is used in Somerset County.

Read said Augusta residents interested in registering their loved ones can do so online by clicking on the “Autism/Developmental Disability Registration” link on the left side of the Augusta Police Department’s Web page.

Registration forms also are available at the Police Department at 33 Union St.


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