DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Police in DeKalb County now have the ability to track missing persons using a special device that can locate them in less than an hour. The program is offered through an organization called Project Lifesaver. The DeKalb County Police Department joins multiple agencies around Metro Atlanta offering the program.

During an October 30, 2020 press conference, Detective Joseph Francisco demonstrated how they will use a tracking device to quickly locate Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and people with other cognitive disabilities. The patient wears a transmitter attached to a wrist or ankle band, and officers will use a radio frequency receiver to track them. The receiver beeps loudly as they get closer to the person.

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“When a person goes missing, as of right now, we spend hours and hours looking for this person, just like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” said DKPD Captain Theodore Golden, explaining how the program will help them find people more quickly. He said the department received over 2,000 missing person reports last year, and over 100 of them involved people with cognitive disabilities.

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Anthony Palmer, a resident, shared how the program has helped locate his 16-year-old son. “It takes a lot of stress away from me in thinking that he’s going to be missing one day and never be found, but right now, I think I’m a little bit confident that things might change,” Palmer said.

According to police, more than 40 officers are trained on the device, 17 people are currently using it, and the department has 30 devices available.

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The program is free to the public. Anyone interested in signing up can contact the DeKalb County Police Department at 770-724-7710.