Project Lifesaver: A program developed to help those at risk of wandering off

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Pennington County has a program in place to aid the search of people who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or medical disabilities and may be at risk of wondering off.

When this receiver is powered up in an area near the missing person, who is wearing a device like a watch, this transmitter will cause the receiver to beep.

“We have had numerous instances in the past where we’ve used lifesaver equipment, the receiver to locate a subject successfully and return them to their family,” Lt. Morrison said.

The project lifesaver receiver runs by frequency which doesn’t require any internet or WiFi and makes it easier to find somebody, if they wandered off.

Lt. Dustin Morrison with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says that to be a client in the program, a person must be living in a home and under 24/7 care.

“We understand that people can slip away and this added extra security providing them with a transmitter in case they were to run away and wonder off and that’s a good peace of mind for families and caregivers of their loved ones,” Lt. Morrison said.

Don Springhetti is a volunteer for the Sheriff’s Office and was around when the program started about 12 years ago.

“I’m kind of the ‘feet on the ground’ to check the transmitters and it’s a good way to communicate with the families. You establish a rapport with them and they become similar to family members,” Springhetti said.

Springhetti checks the batteries for clients every six weeks. Over the years, he seen how well these devices can work.

“Well everybody that has searched for somebody and hasn’t found them are frustrated and this helps a lot,” Springhetti said.

To enter Project Lifesaver, there is an application process. You should contact the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office if you have a family member or loved one that you think would make a great fit for the program.

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