In Citrus County, the sheriff’s office has initiated two programs intended to keep its citizens safer, especially its seniors.
The distribution of human scent preservation kits — called scent kits — has been in effect since 2014, and is proven to save lives. Scent kits, with the use of scent discriminating dogs to locate people who have wandered and become lost, are used by other Florida law enforcement agencies, but not all.
A second program implemented recently is the Special Persons Registration Program, and at present is unique to Citrus County. Law enforcement is frequently called to find a wandering senior who is living with dementia, or one of our young citizens who is suffering from some form of autism. Such individuals can be registered in a confidential database that enables 911 communications officers to inform responding deputies about that person’s special needs, which enables them to respond professionally, appropriately, and compassionately to the situation.
It is a program that can improve the safety of a person or family in crisis, as well as the safety of the officers on the scene, and it is hoped the program will reduce the number of Baker Acts of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.