YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Just a few beeps is all it could soon take for Northern York County Regional Police officers to bring a missing person home safe and sound.
“We want to get these devices on as many wrists and ankles as we can, so in the event someone does go missing, we can quickly bring them home to their loved ones,” said David Lash, chief of the Northern York County Regional Police Department (NYCRPD).
It’s all thanks to a new program called Project Lifesaver. NYCRPD is one of the first departments in our region to implement this kind of technology in the community.
“With GPS capabilities now, with find your iPhone apps and things like that, the main difference is they’re not as reliable,” said Officer Adam Eisenhart, who serves as the department’s Project Lifesaver coordinator.
Instead, the durable, waterproof Project Lifesaver bracelets are tracked using individualized radio frequencies.
This allows them to connect to antennas that are placed on police cruisers.
“We can cover lots of ground in the vehicle, pick up a signal then revert to a ground unit to hone in on that signal,” explained Eisenhart. “We can get within two to three inches of that unit.”
The program’s focus is on families with loved ones who have cognitive disorders or are prone to wandering.
“A conventional search utilizing grid searches, line searches, people walking [or] just trying to find the person could take hours [or] days,” said Eisenhart.
On the other hand, officers using Project Lifesaver can locate anyone wearing a bracelet within 30 minutes.
Chief Lash says the technology not just about finding people, but about creating a connection with community members, too.
“Officers will be out frequently meeting with our clients, building that rapport, building that trust, so if they do go missing they’re not afraid of someone in a police uniform,” said Chief Lash.
You can learn more about how to get your family involved in Project Lifesaver on the Northern York County Regional Police Department website.