Porter County Sheriff's Department


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Cops, Firefighters Practice Tracking Dementia Patients

VALPARAISO: New device helps police, firefighters find missing people
BY KEN KOSKY
This story ran on nwitimes.com on Friday, April 29, 2005 1:13 AM CDT

A person playing the role of an Alzheimer's disease patient put on a wristwatch-sized electronic transmitter and wandered away, then waited to be found.

Police and firefighters, equipped with a tracking unit, were able to follow the signal until they made a "rescue."

In all, more than a dozen police and firefighters were trained in the Project Lifesaver system Thursday at the Porter County Sheriff's Department and Valparaiso University.
Porter County police Cpl. Doug Crandall, one of the officers who underwent the training, thinks the system, which will officially kick off in early May, could save lives.
"I've had several calls involving this and even had a neighbor who had Alzheimer's," Crandall said.
"This is a great way of addressing it ahead of time instead of mustering up massive manpower to find them."
Porter County police Officer Larry LaFlower said last year's death of a 75-year-old woman who suffered from dementia shows the need for this program to be established and expanded. The woman, who disappeared from her daughter's Lakes of the Four Seasons home, wasn't immediately found and ended up dying of exposure.
LaFlower announced Thursday that the Porter County Fraternal Order of Police is donating two wristbands. The county already had six wristbands thanks to a donation from Range Master Outfitters in Chesterton.
"We think it's a good idea and definitely needed," LaFlower said.
Elkhart County Sheriff's Department Capt. Brad Rogers, who instructed Porter County's emergency responders, said the Project Lifesaver system has had a 100 percent success rate and has located 1,100 people since 1999.
"That's hard to beat," Rogers said.
Porter County is currently accepting applications from people who have a family member who needs a wristband. Anyone interested in obtaining a wristband, or anyone wanting to donate to the program, is asked to call Edna Elwood at the Porter County Sheriff's Department. The number is (219) 477-3112.
People who can afford the $213 cost of a wristband will be asked to pay for one. Some wristbands may be available for those who can't

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