By CHRISTIAN WHITTLE
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
The Santa Barbara Police Department is launching an Adult At-Risk ID Card initiative to safeguard city residents suffering from memory loss or other cognitive limitations like Alzheimer’s, dementia or traumatic brain injury ﹘﹘ in the event they’re lost or separated from their home or caregivers.
The Elder and At-Risk ID program is a voluntary program where caregivers can register their loved ones’ information with the Department in order to enhance the “Be On the Lookout” alert system.
When an at-risk person is reported missing, the Department quickly sends out fliers and online notices with as much information available to engage the public for help.
“The public is an amazing resource,” said Sgt. Kasi Corbett. “Usually we get a phone call saying, ‘Hey I saw this guy down at the beach’ or ‘I saw him over in this area.’”
In order to expedite the process with additional essential and accurate information, the Department created the At-Risk ID program.
“With a press of the button we can print out one of those fliers that would give their picture, their name, areas frequently located, and that will help us get those ‘Be On the Lookouts’ out to the public much faster,” said Sgt. Corbett.
The Department will also provide an ID card, complete with the Santa Barbara Police Department logo, their name, and any information they want such as phone numbers of caregivers, as well as a lanyard.
“It helps us identify and have information in the system that we can quickly put out to the public if need be. We also print up an ID card for the caregiver, and we’ll print as many as they need,” Sgt. Corbett told the News-Press.
The Department is currently reaching out to nursing homes, memory care centers, hospices, and other areas with information about the program.
“Also, if a memory center calls and says they have four people that caregivers want to register, we’ll go there. It’s a portable computer system that we’ll just take there and do all the registration,” said Sgt. Corbett.
The public is invited to the official roll out of the The Elder and At-Risk ID program from 10 a.m. to Noon on March 11 at the Police Activities League Building at 1235 Chapala St.
Most of the program’s volunteers will be there to provide information and register anyone interested in the ID card.
Registration is available only to city residents, and you can also register yourself, according to the Department.
Some of the information will remain private but some information will be released to the public (such as description of the at risk-individual, age, etc.) in order to assist in a search in the event a participant is reported missing. The at-risk participant will be photographed to assist in any future search effort.
“Our goal is to get out to many areas and venues within the community to try to get the database up as much as possible so we can help as many people as possible,” said Sgt. Corbett.
“Not infrequently we have people reported missing that we usually find within 30 mintues to three hours, and so this is just to help that process and help people stay safe.”
Sgt. Corbett gave all the credit for the initiative to the Departments 14 VIP volunteers, who she said conceived of the project and secured a grant for its funding.
“They really owned this program and are really excited about the benefits that it can provide,” said Sgt. Corbett.
Those who wish to register, but who cannot attend the rollout event can set an individual appointment by contacting SBPD Volunteer Dale Kunkel via email at email@example.com
For questions about the upcoming event or to obtain additional information about the Adult At-Risk ID Program, contact Sgt. Corbett at (805) 897-2332.