Program to help special needs individuals reported missing

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Craighead County Sheriff's Department has begun a new program designed to help search for special needs individuals reported missing.

For the past two days, officers have been training on a program called Project Life Saver. And Tuesday, that training was put to the test. It is a new piece of equipment will help officers locate individuals who have a tendency to wander, whether it's from Alzheimer or autism. The individual is given a bracelet with a transmitter attached, which can then be detected by a receiver. Officers spent Tuesday afternoon practicing mock searches to locate lost individuals who they called "the rabbit."

But what makes Project Life Saver so valuable is the speed. Instructors for the training course say in the past, many times individuals could be lost for days, weeks, or never found at all. Now, with this new equipment, they say subjects are being found in thirty minutes or less. Assistant Chief Deputy Marty Boyd says it's a valuable tool. "I hope it's a safety feature. It will give caretakers of people taking care of Alzheimer patients or maybe autistic children peace of mind. Where they don't have to worry about if a door is locked 24 hours a day," said Boyd.

The department has ordered six transmitters so far, and hope to eventually add more with future grant money. Once the devices are received, they will be given out first-come-first-serve. For more information, just contact the Craighead County Sheriff's Department at (870) 933-4551.