HAWTHORNE – The Real Time Crime intelligence center is credited with helping Westchester police officers locate three missing/endangered persons this week and turned them over to the care of mental health professionals or their loved ones.
The incidents highlight a lesser-known component of the RTC, which is most closely associated with providing real time information to help officers in the field locate stolen cars, fleeing suspects or vehicles wanted in connection with past crimes.
“When families report a missing person who is in emotional crisis or suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, RTC immediately goes to work,” Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gleason said. “By leveraging the technology and investigative tools we have, RTC can often identify the location where a missing/endangered person is traveling. This helps Patrol officers to find these persons before a tragedy occurs.”
On Thursday, police in New Jersey shared information about a man who had left home in a suicidal state. Several hours later, RTC determined that his car was on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Mount Pleasant. Officers from several agencies responded and a Pleasantville police officer located the vehicle and stopped it. The man was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital and placed into the care of mental health professionals.
The same scenario unfolded a day earlier. Again, a police agency in New Jersey shared information about a missing/endangered person. RTC subsequently determined that the woman’s car was driving was on the Hutchinson River Parkway.
A Rye Brook officer located the vehicle at Ridge Street. The woman was taken to Greenwich Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
“Officers are trained to de-escalate tensions when dealing with persons in crisis and to earn their trust so we can get them the help they need,” Gleason said. “This type of interaction happens all the time, but the public doesn’t see it because these incidents are resolved safely for all involved.”
In addition to persons in emotional crisis, police are often called upon to find persons suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive impairment. An incident of that nature occurred on Monday when the Greenburgh Police Department reported that it was searching for a missing/endangered person. GPD provided information about the vehicle the elderly woman was using.
RTC determined that the vehicle had been traveling on Dobbs Ferry Road, which narrowed the area where officers could search. Greenburgh officers located the woman and brought her back home to the safety of her family.
“It is gratifying to all of us in law enforcement when we can find persons in a vulnerable state and bring them to the safety of a hospital or their loved ones. I would like to thank the personnel in RTC for their invaluable assistance and commend the officers in the field who handled these interactions with compassion and skill,” Gleason said.
The Real Time Crime center, housed at County Police headquarters, is a multi-agency intelligence center supported by more than 40 participating police agencies in the Westchester-Putnam region.