L.O.S.T. and Project Lifesaver

The Iowa City Police Department (ICPD), in collaboration with the East Central Iowa Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Autism Center, Iowa City Area Autism-Asperger Syndrome Family Group, Handicare, The Village Community and the Autism and Safety Risk Initiative, has launched Loved Ones Safe and Together (LOST), a program to assist in identifying and locating community members who have been separated from their families or caretakers.

Individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, autism or other medical conditions which involve memory loss or confusion, may wander away from their home. In these situations, police officers are called to assist in locating them. In addition, officers may come across individuals who are lost but have not been reported as such. Time is a critical factor in safely locating missing persons, especially in dangerous weather conditions. Prompt dissemination of information about the missing person to the police and the public is essential. Providing necessary information to the police in advance may result in a timelier reunification.

The LOST program consists of an ICPD database that contains information about the person including name, address, physical description, birth date and a photograph. It also includes information about the potential activities of the person, where they may be heading or where they have been found when lost previously and what symptoms they may exhibit when located by the police officer. Additional information can include communication differences or techniques, unusual behaviors, sensory needs, triggers and ways to effectively interact with the individual.

The ICPD plans to utilize funds from the FY2015 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice to provide awareness and risk reduction training for ICPD officers and utilization of tracking devices that can send electronic alerts about a missing person’s location.

There is no cost to participate in this program, just fill out an application. If you are unable to download the form, it can be sent to you with a stamped envelope for its return to the ICPD. In addition to the completed information form, applicants should include a recent photograph of the individual to be included in the database. If a recent photograph is not available, arrangements will be made for an officer to take a photograph for the database.

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