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St. Johns County Sheriff's Office gets new equipment to help find people with Alzheimer's, autism when they wander

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or autism, you understand that they have the tendency to wander.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Families with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease or autism will understand that no matter their age, they may roam. St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is now more prepared to find your loved one faster.

The sheriff's office received 500 Scent Evidence K9 kits. Inside is a container and a cloth that you use to collect someone’s scent and store it for up to 10 years. CEO of Scent Evidence K9 Paul Coley explains how it works. First you wipe the cloth on porous areas like the armpits of the person you are collecting the scent. Then you seal the container. 

Coley says if that person goes missing, trained K9s can sniff out the properly stored scent and track a person faster. He says when a family gives them a jacket to trace, it can be laced with so many other scents whereas a stored scent of the individual will help the K9 hone in on the one scent it needs to follow. 

Florida Representative Scott Plakon fought to get these paid for in the state budget after his late wife Susie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and would wander. 

Coley's company also provided the department with a canine named Daisy, after Susie's favorite flowers. 

“I cannot tell you how it makes me feel to see that this agency... to embrace Daisy, named in honor of my late wife Susie, to be helping people that are lost and so vulnerable," Plakon said. 

Plakon says the state is paying $200,000 for this equipment and training in five counties in Florida including St. Johns. 

If you think your family could benefit from this, call SJCO and ask for Sergeant Ramona Davis. 

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