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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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RMPD offers program for individuals who wander
Project Lifesaver helps cut search time, prevent tragedy
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Courtesy Photo: Lt. Mark Lovern with the Rocky Mount Police Department attempts to locate a “missing person” with a receiver during training for Project Lifesaver.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

The Rocky Mount Police Department is offering a new program to help families with members who have cognitive conditions that make them prone to wander from home.

Project Lifesaver is a search and rescue program that provides tracking equipment specifically geared toward the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's, autism, Down's syndrome, dementia and other cognitive conditions, according to Lt. Danny Brabham.

"We have seen a need for this program in Rocky Mount," Brabham said. "We have two assisted living facilities and five schools within the town limits."

Clients who enroll in the monitoring program wear a small personal transmitter on their wrist that emits a tracking signal, Brabham said. If the individual goes missing, the caregiver can notify the RMPD and a trained team of responders begin the search.

"With Project Lifesaver, the amount of time spent searching for individuals is greatly decreased," he added. "Most folks are found within 30 minutes. This is a proven method, and the results are very impressive."

RMPD was awarded an $8,000 federal grant to purchase two receivers and a transmitter and to pay for the training. Four officers -- Brabham, Lt. Mark Lovern, Sgt. David Bowles and Sgt. Andy Pendleton -- participated in three days of training to become certified electronic search specialists. These four officers will now train the rest of the department.

This program is for both children and adults. Interested caregivers should contact Brabham at the RMPD at 483-9275 for information.

In terms of cost, Brabham said assistance may be available in purchasing the transmitters for clients.

"As the need grows, we will seek donations and plan fundraisers to help those who need the service," he added.

 
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