Police around the province have a new tool when it comes to tracking down people living with mental illness.
The Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police (SACP) signed a partnership with MedicAlert, which will give them access to vital information which could help officers quickly locate lost or missing vulnerable people.
In other Canadian Communities, MedicAlert is effective in assisting individuals living with autism, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive brain injuries.
The MedicAlert Connect Protect service is a voluntary, vulnerable-person registry which gives officers direct access to information such as updated photos, physical descriptions, wandering history and behaviour management strategies such as anxiety triggers and de-escalation techniques.
Marlow Pritchard, Weyburn police chief and current SACP president, said the partnership started with a conversation two years ago. This is the first time an entire province has signed on as a partner.
Pritchard said instances to use database might not happen every day, but when they do, it’s important the information is gathered quickly.
“It is shocking, and I say that with all due respect, shocking how far an individual can get going and what once you think you’ve got a perimeter, they’re long past that perimeter,” Pritchard said
Regina police chief Evan Bray estimates they see a case every one or two months where someone has gone missing from their family or caregivers.
Bray said he knows there’s been a lot of vulnerable people in Canada and Saskatchewan who have fallen victim to the weather.
“We want to prevent those tragic circumstances from happening,” Bray said.
Back in January, Saskatoon police and Saskatoon Search and Rescue introduced radio tracking bracelets for vulnerable people.
Saskatoon police chief Troy Cooper said just having that program helps bring a comfort to families when someone goes missing.
Cooper said getting information quickly is valuable when it comes to ensuring people who are wandering remain safe.
People can sign up for MedicAlert for $60 per year. Family members and caregivers can help a person sign up for the program if they choose to do so.