Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Support for new program needed
Houston County Courier - March 2009
Houston County Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt announced that his office will soon appeal to the local social and civil organizations for funds to help begin and support a new program for the county called Project Lifesaver.
This program is designed to enhance law enforcement’s capability to locate those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism or special needs that have a tendency to wander.
The tools provided through this program make it possible for the search and rescue efforts to be completed in minutes and hours instead of days.
Alzheimer’s affects more than 5 million American’s and one in eight, over the age of 65, will be diagnosed with this disease.
There are more than 20,000 people diagnosed in Northeast Texas alone.
Of those, 60 percent will have a tendency to wander. Anyone diagnosed is at risk for wandering, even if they have never done so before.
The chances for survival drop to 50 percent if the person is not located within 24 hours.
By participating with Project Lifesaver, the sheriff’s office will be provided a mobile locator tracking system.
Those who become members purchase a wristband that emits a tracking signal 24 hours a day.
The signal can be tracked on the ground or in the air for several miles. Each band has a unique radio frequency that allows the search team to positively locate and identify the person who has wandered away from their home or care facility.
These searches are usually completed in a short amount of time, saving hours of overtime and manpower that is normally expended without such a system.
The cost for the project consists of a $3,000 startup fee, which includes two tracking systems for law enforcement plus the required training.
Wristbands for members cost $99, plus $30 a month for the battery change.
There is a yearly $200 membership fee for the sheriff’s office.
“Our goal,” states Sheriff Bobbitt, “is to raise enough money for the initial start-up, plus enough money to purchase the wristbands for members. It would be ideal to raise enough money to help offset, if not cover, the monthly fee, also.”
The Houston County Commissioner’s Court has approved a special line item for the funds to be put into. Sheriff Bobbitt encourages anyone who would like to donate or would like more information to contact his office 544-2862.