Nassau officials announced a major expansion Tuesday of a police program that stores information about residents with cognitive disabilities, so police can access vital information, should they go missing, County Executive Ed Managano said.
The program, Return Every Adult and Child Home, or R.E.A.C.H., launched back in 2010 and provides law enforcement officers with information and photos of individuals suffering from a cognitive disorder, if they were found to be missing. Police encourage families of those suffering from similar disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and autism, to register with the program and have their personal information stored in a secured database that is accessible by police.
At a Tuesday press conference, Mangano said the program allows law enforcement to notify officers on the street of a missing person registered in the program by sending their photos and personal information through the department’s computerized system, known as the NCPD Real Time Intel system. That system is available in all patrol cars and police stations, officials said.
Kathy Kammerer, whose husband signed up for the program last year, said she thought the program was “amazing.” Her husband Brian, who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s disease and lives with an aide, went missing in February 2012 inside the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, she said. After he lost his ability to speak and understand, she brought him to the police academy to sign up for the R.E.A.C.H. program. Managno said Kammerer has been “a great ambassador to the program.”
The Nassau County Police Department Foundation, an independent non-profit organization, donated $6,000 to purchase wristbands, lanyards and identification cards to be distributed to program registrants, said the organization’s chairman, Eric Blumencranz.
The more than 15,000 combined wristbands, identification cards and lanyards were displayed during a Tuesday morning press conference held at Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola. Blumencranz, who is an insurance broker by trade, said each item cost between $1.00 and $1.25.
The Nassau County Police Foundation has been the subject of public scrutiny after an investigative report by the Long Island Press revealed that preferential treatment was given to those who made generous donations to the foundation and ultimately led to the arrest and prosecution of former Nassau County Police Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan and Zachary Parker, the son of a former board member of the foundation, who had donated a significant amount of money to the non-profit. A probe by the district attorney’s office found that the non-profit organization had committed no wrongdoing, Blumencranz said.
He said the donation for these items was approved by the foundation’s board of directors and was a “minuscule” amount of the foundation’s war chest. He declined to identify a specific number, when asked of the organization’s current financial standpoint, but said the foundation raised more than $4 million since its inception in 2008.
Anyone interested in registering for the program should attend a registration drive on April 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will be held at the Nassau County Police Academy located at 200 2nd Avenue in Massapequa Park.