Families of people with autism, Alzheimer's or other cognitive disorders are urged to enroll in a Nassau County program that will allow the person's picture to be beamed to computers in county police cars if they are reported missing, county officials said.

The REACH program - Return Every Adult and Child Home - is an enhancement of the Silver Alert system created by the Nassau County Legislature last August that provides for notifications to police agencies when a person with dementia is reported missing. A similar bill was passed in Suffolk in March 2009.

"The Silver Alert program has been very successful here in Nassau County. The REACH program takes it a step further by having key information and visual image on hand to disseminate when needed," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Wednesday.

"The success of the program depends on registration," Mangano said at a news conference with Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey. "It can only work if we have information in our computers."

The prime sponsor of the Nassau County law, Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn), said Mangano's proposal "seems like a good extension of the Silver Alert law . . . which has helped many families find their missing loved ones."

The new program is the latest use of the onboard computers in county police cars. Two weeks ago, Mangano and Mulvey announced that the Shotspotter system, which pinpoints the sound of gunfire with sensors, will now send the locations of gunshots directly to the computers as well as to police dispatchers.

People who want to register a family member can make an appointment with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the Nassau County Police Department by calling 516-573-5775 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Appointments are available for June 5, 12 and 19. Registration is free and takes about 10 minutes.

Latest videos