Folsom Police Launch Project Lifesaver To Help Track Missing Loved Ones

FOLSOM (CBS13) —The Folsom Police Department is calling a new program a lifesaver.

In fact, it’s called Project Lifesaver.

Folsom police recently launched the tracking program and say it will give family members peace of mind and make it easier for police to find those who have wandered off before they get into real danger.

When Folsom police get a call about a missing person, and that person is wearing the wristwatch-like device, they say the receiver goes to work to help officers.

“They will then turn it on and start driving toward the location … it emits a signal that we will hear with the receiver when we are in close proximity to them,” the direction that the person is missing,” said 911 dispatcher Elva Valasek.

The device works using radio frequency, not GPS, which the department admits may seem archaic, but it says it can track in many places, better.

“GPS will not work in enclosed areas. Let’s say we have someone lost in the mall or a parking garage, we’re not gonna pick up a signal,” says Valasek.

Melissa Christopher’s 19-year-old son, Bowie, has autism. She thinks the program sounds great.

Her company, Montessori Autism Programs and Services, works with local families and she says wandering is common and a big concern.

“I’ve had friends who’ve had their naked 10-year-old boys climb out dog doors in the middle of the night or out windows and be three miles from their house,” she said.

She has personal experience with Bowie wandering off and believes every police department should have this program.

“It’s terrifying to me to think my beautiful boy would be out there wandering and not able to respond appropriately to police and be in real danger,” she said.

The Folsom police department says the cost for the transmitter, the bands, and the battery is $300 a year but is offering the program free for now, for those who qualify.

The department is encouraging anyone who might be interested in “Project Lifesaver” to check its website or contact them.

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