With the help of software engineering students at Fairfield University, Fairfield Police Sgt. Michael Stahl developed the ‘Safe Return Network’ – an online database where residents can add important information and a photo of loved ones who may have dementia or certain disabilities. This is all so that the police can locate them in case they are missing.
The program was implemented several years ago, but police again want to let the public know that the program exists.
Stahl says it all started ten years ago when he and his fellow officers answered a call about a missing, non-verbal autistic teenager.
Stahl says it was difficult for the police to determine where he was from and where his home was.
“That’s when we realized that there had to be some type of system in place to help us locate those people who are prone to wandering for whatever reason. And help us bring them back in. their families, ”says Stahl.
The program was launched in 2014 and has helped in several cases of missing persons. Stahl says it was recently used to locate an elderly man across town.
Christy Vitale, president of the Fairfield Special Education Parent Teacher Association, has a daughter with special needs and says the database means peace of mind for parents.
“Although my daughter is not a runner, my friends have this constant fear of knowing where my child is. So knowing that the police have taken the time to create this program from scratch that they are modeling for others. cities and states is amazing, ”said Vitale. .