$123,000 federal grant will help Framingham police find missing people

FRAMINGHAM — The Framingham Police Department will use a federal grant that will help it find missing people quicker, particularly those who are at risk.

The department received nearly $123,000 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. According to a press release, the so-called Kevin and Avonte Program is designed to help provide local departments with funds to develop programs to prevent deaths and injuries to those with dementia or developmental disabilities.

According to Police Chief Lester Baker, the department will use the money to provide SafetyNet wristwatches, which are GPS-enabled, to high-risk residents at no cost.

In addition, the department will use the money to purchase a drone, which will be used by the joint Police and Fire Emergency Operations Team.

“This is a great use of funds that will be used to assist some of our most vulnerable populations by utilizing state of the art technology,” Baker said in a statement. “I want to thank the Bureau of Justice Assistance for recognizing the needs of our community and awarding us this grant.”

Baker said there is a need. In 2019, the Framingham Police and Fire departments responded to 175 missing person cases. Of those, more than 40% occurred on weekends between 4 p.m. and midnight.

According to police, the department will receive 225 SafetNet watches. The department will work with the Framingham Elder Services and Framingham Public Schools to help get the watches to the people who need them.

According to the release, along with the watches, the drones will give the departments an ability to search larger areas during a search and rescue incident. The drone, which will be equipped with an infrared camera, can search areas quicker than officers on the ground, police said in the release.

Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or nmiller@wickedlocal.com. For up-to-date public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.

This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Framingham police get $123K grant to help locate missing people

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