The Montrose County Sheriff's Office recently received a grant from the state to pay for a new tracking system. They say the new system will not only benefit the public, but help deputies out as well.
The Montrose County Sheriff's Office says just a few years ago, it spent three days trying to find a woman with Alzheimer's who had wandered away from her home. As more elderly people retire to Montrose, Sheriff Rick Dunlap says the county needs to be better prepared to handle cases like that one.
"When somebody wanders, especially in weather like we've been having recently, it's imperative we locate them as fast as we can," said Sheriff Dunlap.
Last year, Governor Ritter signed a bill that gave local law enforcement extra funding to purchase equipment. Thanks to that bill, Sheriff Dunlap took steps to make sure his deputies could find a missing person quickly.
"Seeing how long it takes to put together a ground team to start a search, I just felt that this was something that was very much needed here in Montrose County," said Sheriff Dunlap.
Project Lifesaver is a program designed to track people with conditions like Alzheimers, Down Syndrome, or Autism, who may be at risk to wander away. Participants wear a bracelet that transmits a unique signal which can be picked up within a mile radius by a receiver. The Sheriff's Office says when it comes to finding someone who has wandered off, nothing works better than this new system.
"For one thing, the success rate of Project Lifesaver is one hundred percent," said Helen Bock of the Montrose County Sheriff's Office. "It can take a three day search and get it down into about thirty minutes to an hour."
Officials say time isn't the only thing it saves. It costs Montrose County $150 an hour per unit to search for someone. They say with Project Lifesaver, it takes fewer people less time to get the job done, which means a much cheaper bill for the Sheriff's Office. But at the end of the day, the Sheriff's Office says it's all about helping the people it serves.
"I just feel that it's a worthwhile cause and something that we can provide to the community," said Sheriff Dunlap.
To learn more about enrolling in the program, Montrose residents are asked to call the Montrose County Sheriff's Office. Project Lifesaver is also available in Mesa County.
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