Officers Get Hands-On Training With Technology That Could Help Find Missing Persons

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Police departments from all over Allegheny County were in a park in Pittsburgh today.

At first glance, it may have looked like something was very wrong.

However, they were actually participating in a life-saving training exercise.

Riverview Park looked like the scene of a search for a missing person.

But the officers were just training as part of the Project Lifesaver program.

It’s a program that provides people dealing with a wide range of conditions from autism to dementia with electronic bracelets.

If a person wanders off, a caregiver can call 911 and then specially trained officers, use receiving equipment to help locate that person.

“All of our searches have been successful. We want to keep it that way, so this is again just a way to build up our skills,” Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Eric Kroll said.

The program has been around in Allegheny County for a few years now and officers have trained everywhere from urban settings to near the rivers. Today was actually the first time they trained in a wooded area.

“With the park, it gives us a little bit different setting, gives us a little more hilly terrain and different places where somebody could hide, that’s really going to give the equipment a run for its money,” James Williams, of the Munhall Police Department, said.

The equipment can pick up a bracelet signal from about a mile and a half away.

Already, 150 people in Allegheny County are wearing the bracelets, but project organizers want that number even higher.

They say this technology can literally mean the difference between life and death.

“It brings peace of mind to those families, families that are struggling to take care of people with special needs,” Kroll said.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office provides funding for the project so people can get the bracelets free of charge.

To find if someone in your family is eligible, visit their website here.

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