What helped find a missing 13-year-old Englewood girl last week was a scent from her clothing -- which is why city police are encouraging residents to get a free product that could help do the same for them.
Find ‘Em Scent Safe produces an all-in-one, do-it-yourself human scent collection kit that could help find at-risk or disabled area residents who go missing.
Police in Maywood were the first in the nation to offer the kits last month.
Now Englewood police are doing the same.
Families with members afflicted with Alzheimer’s or dementia or those concerned for their children can obtain the free scent kits by contacting Deputy Police Chief Gregory Halstead at Ghalstead@englewoodpd.org or (201) 871-6444.
Non-residents and all others can purchase kits at findemscentsafe.com.
The first three hours is the most critical window of time for locating a missing person, Halstead said.
Find’em™ is a scent collection and storage system created to assist a search dog team with a “viable, uncontaminated scent article” of a missing person, whether they’re lost or dealing with a medical emergency, he said.
Collecting a person’s scent item takes less than 10 minutes, the deputy chief said.
The Scent Safe storage case includes a sterile gauze pad to be placed on an optimum-scent-collection area on the body.
After the gauze pad is held in place for five minutes, it then goes into an enclosed tamper-evident bag. The bag is then put back in the Scent Safe case.
When stored properly in a freezer, the scent collection item is usable for 12 months.
Maywood Police Detective Chris Nichols, whose bloodhound partner, Remi, found the missing Englewood girl, is sold on the product.
“I’ve been worked on hundreds of missing person cases throughout a career that has spanned 10 years," Nichols said, "and I have no doubt making a resource like Find’em™ Scent Safe available...as a proactive safety measure will prove to be invaluable.
"An uncontaminated human scent is absolutely critical for search dogs to have the ultimate success of locating a missing person.”
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