Warsaw Police collecting scents to help find missing people


WARSAW, Duplin County - Would you be willing to let your local law enforcement agency store a sample of your personal smell? The Warsaw Police Department is doing just that in an effort to help them find someone should they go missing.

The police department believes it'll be easier to track down that person and bring them home safely if they already have their scent on file. The idea for the program popped up about three months ago.

This is a voluntary program and citizens don't have to have their scent on file. But if they choose to do so, all they have to do is come down to the Warsaw Police Department and get it done in a few minutes.

"Back in July I saw an article out of Florida where a family's loved one had gone missing - she had dementia," said Isiah Kennedy, a Warsaw police officer. "They had collected her scent previously and stored it at the house so they called the sheriff's office and the sheriff's office brought out their canine team and presented the canine with the sample and they were able to find her quickly and safely.

"So when I saw that article I thought well why couldn't we do that on a bigger scale through our police department instead of people keeping it at their houses."

The process is pretty easy. You take a piece of sterile gauze, wipe your arms, neck and other exposed areas of skin. The gauze is put in a sealed container and can be placed in your freezer for up to a year.

"We have a partnership with the local nursing home - we're gonna be collecting scent samples from their patients, especially their at risk patients - patients that are more prone to wander off," Kennedy said. "This will help us in the event that they do go missing to be ready and have an uncontaminated scent to go out there and help us find these people and get them back home safely."

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