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Program partners with law enforcement to locate missing people quicker

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:18 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - This week alone, North Dakota has issued two silver alerts for missing men.

Wednesday night in Bismarck, a man with dementia left his assisted living home and was found nearly 17 hours later, 5 and a half miles from the facility he walked away from.

Project Find Safe is a program that allows family members to register individuals who are at risk for wandering.

Those individuals will receive a bracelet that allows local law enforcement to track their location if they were to go missing.

The small device is the size of a watch and could save the life of someone who wandered off.

“Wandering is a dangerous thing. Especially in North Dakota with the dangerous weather. If we don’t locate them quickly that could be a life and death situation,” said Sgt. Brandon Stockie, Dickinson Police Department.

In a mock trial ,the bracelet was hidden in some bushes.

It then transmits a frequency that is picked up by the receiver local law enforcement have.

“If they don’t know what location they walked off to or which direction, it’s even tougher for us to know where to start,” said Stockie.

As the receiver gets closer to the bracelet, the beeping gets louder, indicating they are close to the individual.

Law enforcement can also attach the receiver to squad cars.

“They can just drive as close as they can, get out of the vehicle with the equipment and track the person down,” said Dr. Lori Garnes, principal investigator for Project Find Safe.

The search in Bismarck beginning Wednesday afternoon lasted for 17-hours until law enforcement located 70-year-old Theodore Heath.

Law enforcement say this device can decrease the time it takes to locate a missing person.

“It almost helps you sleep better at night knowing that they have this on, and if they do wander we can find them right away,” said Stockie

According to its program, it takes an average of 30 minutes to recover a missing person with Project Find Safe

The program is free of charge to residents in North Dakota.

To register contact your local police department to find the nearest program provider or find more information at http://www.ndcpd.org/findsafe.html

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