GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — It’s Autism Awareness Month, and the Glendale Police Department wants to remind families that it is using a technology that makes it easier to help locate missing loved ones with autism, Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.
The technology comes in the form of a band for the wrist or ankle made by Project Lifesaver, the first to apply tracking technology for the search and rescue of individuals with cognitive disorders, according to its website.
Sgt. Traci Fox with the Glendale Police Department trained officers how to use the technology. To her, the program was personal. “I have a family member that’s autistic. So, I’ve seen the struggles my sister has gone through to raise her son.”
The people in the program wear a wrist or ankle band. When a caregiver reports their loved one missing, the search begins.
“It’s constantly setting off a tone, a frequency tone. We turn on the transmitter, and we tone it into that frequency code. And then we can use that receiver to then help track down and try and find the individual,” Fox added.
The frequency from the device can be picked up as far as a mile away. “The signal starts getting stronger and stronger as you get closer to it, and the sound gets louder and louder,” said Officer Tino Saloomen.
Saloomen described the feeling he got when he helped find two missing people in a matter of minutes instead of hours. “Oh, it’s wonderful, just to be able to take that person who’s having an episode and doesn’t know what’s going on and to be able to take them back to their families.”
The program costs $375 for the first year and $100 for each additional year.
Glendale police are now working with nearby agencies like the Burbank Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to get everyone on this technology because people who wander off may cross city lines.