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Bill to help law enforcement protect wandering seniors passes Public Safety Committee

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) Mar. 19, 2024 – A key piece of Asm. Jasmeet Bains’ legislative package to help older and aging adults sailed through the Assembly Public Safety Committee today with bipartisan and unanimous support. 

AB 2541 requires the commission for the Peace Officer Training Standard (POST) to work with experts to create guidelines addressing wandering associated with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and dementia. 

“Finding people when they are wandering is critical because the survival rate drops dramatically the longer it takes to find a missing person. This bill will give law enforcement more tools to help ensure the safe return of wandering individuals to families and caregivers,” said Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano), the bill’s author and chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care. 

Over 70% of counties in California do not have a rapid response program or registry to aid in finding a missing person with a cognitive impairment.

More than 60% of the people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease will wander at some point. Nearly 50% of children with autism will engage in wandering behavior. These instances of wandering increase the chances of individuals needing assistance from or coming into contact with local law enforcement. 

According to the National Institute on Aging, an estimated 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Dementia is a generalized term for memory and decision impairment that impacts everyday activities. 

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that autism affects approximately 1 in 36 children and 1 in 45 adults in the United States. 

AB 2541 is now headed to the Assembly Appropriation Committee.

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Dr. Jasmeet Bains represents the 35th Assembly District in Kern County, including the cities of Bakersfield, Delano, Wasco, Arvin, Shafter, and McFarland.