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State News

House Committee Approves Plan To Help Find Missing Persons With Special Needs

Rep. Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City)
The Florida Channel

Among some people on the autism spectrum, there’s a tendency to wander off, and in some cases they end up in a dangerous situation before search and rescue officials can find them.  A North Florida pilot project aims to cut response times by providing tracking devices.

The University of Florida will hand out free personal tracking devices that can be worn or attached to clothing as part of the four county program.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City) believes her proposal will save lives.

“This is the first step in what I hope will be a very successful venture,” Porter says, “and something that will save lives in the future, be it young children with special needs or eventually down the road, our elderly population that may be prone to wander as well, but again we have to take that first step.”

The university will conduct a study as the project rolls out in Baker, Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties.  University officials will deliver a final report on the initiative to the governor and legislative leadership by the end of 2016.