Project Lifesaver coming to Dunn County

DUNN COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- On a cold night like this in Western Wisconsin, it is hard to imagine what it would be like for someone with a mental disability leaving their home and wandering outside.

But Dunn County is getting ready to use new technology that could help law enforcement find missing people faster.

Here is how it works: people with certain medical conditions like Alzheimer's are given a bracelet. If they are reported missing, deputies can use a receiver to track their location up to a mile away.

It may not sound like a huge distance but these diagrams show how, by working in a circular pattern around the place they were last seen, you can quickly cover a lot of ground.

"You can search miles in a few minutes using this equipment," Sgt. Chad Pollock with the Dunn County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Pollock helped bring the program, called Project Lifesaver, to Dunn County. Equipment and training was paid for through a grant. But if you want to get a bracelet for your loved one, it will cost you $300 and $10 a month after that.

"That allows the officer to come to the house and change the battery each month and then it gives them time to meet the client and establish a relationship," he added.

And it works nationwide where other departments are using it. Sgt. Pollock sees Dunn County helping nearby counties, too.

"We can still respond if we're available for neighboring counties, we can assist them," he said.

Peace of mind wrapped into one device.

Project Lifesaver is available nationwide and in various counties around Wisconsin. To see a list of counties using Project Lifesaver, click here.