PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Just this week, an 8-year-old autistic boy from Munhall wandered off, with a massive search effort, he was fortunately found in under an hour.
But it’s situations like that that have prompted a county-wide initiative to help police find missing people faster.
Armed with handheld frequency trackers, officers from several police departments in Allegheny County scanned the area.
“It’s that way,” said one officer.
The officer was looking for a small device.
“Eventually someday, this will be attached to a body,” said the officer.
The program is called project lifesaver. The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office is now backing the initiative, which began in Munhall with Officer James Williams.
“My little boy is on the autism spectrum and I have a concern that he may wander some time,” said Williams.
The bracelets will be assigned to people like elderly people who may have dementia or Alzheimer’s, or children with special need who tend to wander.
Officials 24 people have applied so far.
The bracelet has a frequency ID and if a person is reported missing, trained officers in the now expanding program will use that information and hopefully be able to find them much faster. It’s expected to launch fully by August – and if successful, could possibly accept upwards of 500 people into the program down the road.
By that time, officials say about 20 officers should be trained in 10 jurisdictions and 120 municipalities.
“It’s a huge manpower saver, ‘cause this is a huge force multiplier,” Williams said. “One officer can do this. The more, the better — but one officer can operate this.”
The district attorney’s office is hoping to have the remaining departments trained by the end of July.