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Sheriff’s program could help track missing adults

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

 
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will commence a new program this week targeted at better locating missing adults and children with memory-related illnesses.
Local residents whose loved ones suffer from Alzheimer’s, Austim, Down’s Syndrome or dementia can participate in the new search and rescue program, Project Lifesaver, which has been in the works since Sheriff David Carpenter and his new administration took office in December 2010.
At least two other neighboring counties, Catawba and Gaston, have already started the project.
Individuals who qualify for the program have a better chance of being located in the event that they wander from their residences. Through the initiative, each person will be administered a battery-operated ankle device or bracelet, according to a press release. Both Sheriff’s Office authorities and a specially trained search and rescue team will monitor the devices, which each have a one-mile tracking range.
Once an individual goes missing, the device emits a signal notifying authorities, the release said. Using special technology, they will then track the person, responding first to the location where the individual was last seen. Currently, all district supervisors have been trained on how to use the equipment in an emergency situation, Carpenter said. He pointed out that Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid and Capt. Alton Price aided in the training of Lincoln County officers.
Additional information on the person, including both a description and photo, will be on-hand at the Sheriff’s Office. Through the program, various other local law enforcement agencies will partner with Sheriff’s Office authorities in locating each missing person.
Carpenter has much confidence in what he believes will be a necessary and beneficial program for the county.
“Any proactive measure to ensure the safety of … people with the medical issues they have will be extremely effective for us in our search and rescue efforts,” he said. “We look forward to helping those in our community that are in need.”
He noted that throughout his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement, he’s seen ample missing persons cases involving elderly people and children.
Project Lifesaver provided the Sheriff’s Office with a grant for the initial purchase of a receiver, transmitter and antennae. Authorities procured two additional sets at $2,000 for the county’s other two districts, Carpenter said.
For more information on program eligibility and cost, contact Sheriff’s Lt. Erin Long at (704) 736-8878.

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