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APD offers new service for those at risk of wandering

The Auburn Police Department (APD) has partnered with Project Lifesaver to implement a new service designed to track and rescue those with cognitive conditions who tend to wander. The service will answer a critical need for protecting citizens of Auburn who are at risk, including those with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome or Dementia.

Clients enrolled in the service will wear a wristwatch-sized radio transmitter on their wrist or ankle. The transmitter will constantly emit a radio-frequency signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person has wandered, including within densely wooded areas, marshes, concrete structures, and steel buildings. When a loved one goes missing and a caregiver notifies 9-1-1, officers will be dispatched to the wanderer’s last known area. The service has an average rescue time of approximately 30 minutes.

Several Auburn Police officers have been certified as Electronic Search Specialists with the Project Lifesaver program. These officers have been trained in how to initiate electronic searches and how to effectively interact with those living with cognitive conditions once they have been located.

“Time is a critical element in the success rate of these types of searches,” said Police Chief Phillip L. Crowell, Jr. “Project Lifesaver will dramatically reduce search time and improve our chances of a successful search.”

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance through Project Lifesaver. The department will have up to ten electronic transmitters available for the program. Should program participation exceed the available transmitters, people may choose to be placed on a waiting list or to purchase a Project Lifesaver transmitter on their own. Program participants will be asked to pay a $50 annual maintenance fee to cover the cost of transmitter batteries.

The Auburn Police Department will hold an informational meeting on the Project Lifesaver program at in the Androscoggin Room at Auburn Public Library on Monday, June 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information on how to participate in the program, contact Officer Michael Chaine at 333-6650 ext. 2058 or mchaine@auburnmaine.gov, contact Project Lifesaver at 1-877-580-LIFE (5433), or see www.projectlifesaver.org.

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