The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has received a grant to make it easier to locate people with dementia and other disorders who may wander away from their homes.
“We will have the ability to track them if they get separated from their family members,” said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb.
The $6,000 grant from Project Lifesaver International will provide the sheriff ’s department with 12 electronic bracelets and two transmitters to track the location of people with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Down syndrome, dementia or other cognitive disorders in the event someone wearing the bracelet wanders off .
“The bracelets will have a unique radio transmitter in them and if they get lost we can go out and find them,” said Eugene Slone, victims’ advocate for the sheriff ’s department.
Slone said it is common for surrounding police departments to notify the sheriff ’s department of someone missing in their area.
“We receive calls from other states saying a family member was seen on US 23 heading toward Letcher County,” said Slone. “Your heart just drops because you don’t know where they will end up.”
Webb said the program is greatly needed in Letcher County.
“We’ve had several incidents in the past when people with Alzheimer’s wandered away from home,” said Webb. “If you take them to the doctor’s office, you have to watch them every moment. They wander off . We’ve had several complaints like that.”
Sheriff ’s deputies will complete training in April on operating the equipment and locating lost individuals. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said the program is new to his office and he hopes to implement it as soon as his deputies have been trained.
“It’s a good thing and sheriff ’s departments across the nation are using it,” said Webb. “I just think it is a good program.”
Webb said he was surprised that at least 400 Letcher County residents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to health department records.
“That is a high percentage for the population we have,” said Webb.
Drug forfeiture money will be used to purchase additional bracelets and Webb said the program will be a free service to Letcher County, which has about 23,000 residents.
Anyone wanting to register for a bracelet or would like more information about the program can call the sheriff ’s department at 633-2293.