To be eligible for Project Lifesaver, Forsyth County residents will need to meet the following criteria:
• They must have a diagnosed medical condition, such as dementia or autism, that could lead them to wander away.
• There must be a caregiver available to check on the person regularly so they can be reported missing. The caregiver does not have to live in the same house, but must be able to check on the person often.
• The person has to agree to wear the device continuously, and to not take it off.
Source: Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office
Twenty-two minutes after Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Frampton turned on the radio receiver he was holding, he and Deputy Doug Rainwater had found the man they were seeking.
The receiver is part of Project Lifesaver, a new program the agency launched Wednesday aimed at providing the safe, rapid return of missing people.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, the effort is designed to help find adults and children with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Down syndrome and other cognitive-related conditions.
Forsyth is one of three north Georgia counties that use the program.
"We believe it is going to be of great assistance to those in our community who are living with these medical issues," Sheriff Ted Paxton said.
The program provides participants with a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal.
When authorities are notified the wearer is missing, a search and rescue team responds and starts using the mobile locator tracking system.
At the demonstration Wednesday morning, Frampton said the program has been successful in other areas, adding that there "has never been a failure to find a missing person wearing one of these."
During the event, a volunteer was given one of the wristwatch-sized transmitters and sent into the woods at Central Park.
Using the tracking device, deputies crossed an open ball field and went about a quarter mile into the woods, where they found him.
The system was purchased with a combination of federal grant money and drug seizure funds.
Paxton said there are 25 of the transmitters available, though he hopes the business community will help buy more of them.
Staff writer Julie Arrington contributed to this report.