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Program to find missing who are disabled gets boost

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano joined by representatives

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano joined by representatives of the Nassau County Police Department Foundation announces the purchase of 5,000 wristbands, lanyards and identification cards to assist officers in identifying individuals registered in the Return Every Adult and Child Home R.E.A.C.H. Program in Mineola. (April 2, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The $6,000 cost of 5,000 colorful wristbands and cards to help find cognitively disabled people who are lost came from the Nassau County Police Department Foundation's more than $4 million fundraising kitty, its chairman said this week.

The items are part of the police department's Reach program -- an acronym for Return Every Adult & Child Home -- so officers can more easily find people with conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia and autism who go missing. During a registration event scheduled at Nassau's police academy, 200 Second Ave. in Massapequa Park, from 9 a.m. to noon April 20, people will be able to register their loved ones.

On hand Tuesday with County Executive Edward Mangano was a woman whose husband with Alzheimer's once become lost but was found through the Reach program.

The foundation, launched about five years ago, was established to help build a new police academy. It has come under scrutiny, peaking upon the revelation that one of its now-former top officials, Gary Parker, enlisted the help of his police department buddies to scuttle a probe into a burglary by his son. One of the three former police officials charged in the case was convicted. The foundation itself was not accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Fundraising has rebounded, said foundation chairman Eric Blumencrantz, a principal of commercial insurance company BWD Group of Plainview.

"It had a mild effect, but we've had an incredible year this year so far," Blumencrantz said.

Blumencrantz didn't provide details, but said that they would be forthcoming in the audited financial disclosures.

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