What is the SafeReturn Network?:
The SafeReturn Network is a computer database developed to assist emergency personnel in locating community members who suffer from conditions which making them susceptible to “wandering” and safely returning them home.
How to Register:
Registration forms can be downloaded from www.fpdct.com/safereturn -OR- Come to Fairfield Police Headquarters (100 Reef Road, Fairfield, CT 06825) and complete a registration form.
Why and how was the SafeReturn Network created?:
On March 21, 2012 at approximately 2:16 AM, Fairfield Police Officers came into contact with an autistic teenage male running in the middle of a road, not wearing any shoes or socks and was soaking wet. It was immediately recognized that the male was not able to communicate; could not speak and could not write. Fairfield Police Officers spent several hours attempting to identify the male but with no success. In order to ensure the male's safety, he was transported to a local hospital and Police were faced with no other option than to await the frantic early morning 911 call when the male's mother woke up and found her son missing.
As a result of this incident, Officer Stahl came to a realization that there was an emergent need to develop a program to assist Police in safely returning to their homes, members of our community who are prone to wandering. Officer Stahl envisioned a computer driven program wherein members of the community would be able to register their family members or friends who suffer from conditions that make them susceptible to "wandering" (i.e. Dementia, Alzheimer's, Autism, etc.).
In order to make this concept a reality, Officer Stahl, a Fairfield University graduate, sought the assistance of Cathleen Borgman, Director of Career Planning at Fairfield University, who in turn put him in contact with Dr. Wook-Sung Yoo, Professor of Software Engineering at Fairfield University.
Dr. Yoo, having extensive experience in Healthcare Software, was immediately intrigued by the concept of this program and was enthusiastic to bring the concept to his students. Graduate students, Ebenezer Rodriguez Vidal and Michael Marrero, selected to take on the endeavor of creating the SafeReturn Network as part of their capstone project. The SafeReturn Network was completed by Vidal and Marrero in May 2013 and implemented by the Fairfield Police Department in January 2014.
Once an individual us registered with the SafeReturn Network, Officers have the ability to search the database using a variety of variables such as, name, physical characteristics, and age. In addition, the database contains photographs of each individual. In the event an Officer encounters someone who is unable to communicate, he/she is able to open a gallery of photographs and filter those photographs based on physical characteristics and subsequently match a photograph with the person standing in front of them. The Officer is then able to retrieve the individuals profile and emergency contact information. The SafeReturn Network is accessible from the mobile computer terminal within an Officer’s patrol vehicle as well as at Police Headquarters.
The Fairfield Police Department remains dedicated to maintaining a safe community and strives to achieve that mission through Professionalism, Honor and Excellence.
For more information please contact Fairfield Police at (203) 254-4800.