Town police SafeWatch eyes at-risk residents

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The Arlington Police Department has instituted a new program aimed at helping officers locate residents who are at-risk of wandering from home and becoming lost.

Earlier this winter, the department put into effect SafeWatch, a feature of Delphi Technology Solution's Digital HeadQuarters software, which compiles information about residents "at risk" for potentially wandering or going missing, including the elderly, individuals with dementia and children with autism. The software will store information that will help police locate a missing individual, such as a photo of the person, his or her verbal abilities and more.

The new SafeWatch software initiative replaces and expands the department's former program for at-risk residents, which mainly served residents with dementia and the elderly community.


The department is working to integrate the SafeWatch program into Arlington public schools as an optional choice for parents who wish to include their children in the program. Police are also working with other town departments, including elder services, to gather information to help locate residents should they wander or go missing.

"SafeWatch is an incredible resource that will help us disseminate key information in the event a person goes missing or becomes lost," Acting Chief Julie Flaherty said in a March 12 news release. "As residents opt in to the program, our officers are also connecting with more and more members of our community. This software is allowing us to get to know our community better than before, and will help us find a missing person much more quickly."

The new SafeWatch software will also allow the Arlington police to quickly create missing-person fliers and b=on-the-lookouts in the event that an individual goes missing.

Representatives of Arlington police attended a focus group at Delphi Technology Solutions in Lawrence on Feb. 19, with members from Bedford police. At the focus group, public-safety officials shared their experiences and tips for using the software.

The department will have an informational SafeWatch table set up at the annual "Guns & Hoses" hockey game, set for Friday, March 15. Reading material pertaining to SafeWatch program and forms will be at its table. Parents, guardians and family interested in adding someone to the SafeWatch program are asked to bring a photo to attach to the form.

All of the funds raised by the annual hockey game between the Arlington Police and Fire Department will be donated to Autism Speaks and other charities that support individuals with autism.

The game begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person, with a cap of $20 per family. Children under 10 years old will be admitted for free. 

This news announcement was published Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

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