A small piece of equipment is making a big difference.

The difference is life and death.

It’s also making a difference in the meaning behind a police car in the driveway.  Rather than assuming the worst, a police car could now mean a loved one is home safe.

 

Project Lifesaver is a nationwide initiative that provides emergency departments all over the country with equipment to locate individuals that suffer from medical conditions.  The program uses a plastic bracelet, a transmitter, and eventually, The Barrow County Sheriff’s Office to shorten the time frame for missing persons.

According to Sergeant Tim Laturell, the program was initially looked at to help with elderly people who tend to wander. However, after further exploration, the office realized that the program’s demographic isn’t confined to seniors.

“This program really aims for anyone who has a tendency to wander,” Laturell said. “That’s the biggest thing to try to track those people down because they don’t know if they’re in danger. Someone with Down Syndrome or Autism, has no fear.”

The tracking bracelet can be worn on the wrist or ankle and is about the size of a normal watch. For a one time fee of $300 families can purchase a bracelet and some peace of mind.

Sergeant Laturell currently has five bracelets in his office but hopes that they will hit the wrist of those in need in the next few months.

“Whoever needs it is really how I want it to be,” Laturell said. “I hate that theres a cost up front but because they’re three hundred dollars, The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have three hundred dollars to purchase another one when they become available.”

Before Barrow can get the bands to families in need, Laturell is busy training his officers. Without the bracelets, it can take days to locate a missing person. But Laturell says the bracelets have redefined search and rescue. Citing some of his faster officers with a time frame of 15 minutes, Project Lifesaver shows signs of living up to it’s name.

By Natalie Roe

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