Deputy finds lost man, highlights importance of Project Lifesaver

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Pennington County Sheriff’s Office received a call early Sunday morning after an elderly man walked away from his home in Rapid City.

The man’s wife made the call at about 4 a.m., saying she had last seen her husband at 10 p.m. the night before. The man was equipped with a Project Lifesaver tracking device, and as the Sheriff’s Office was powering up the tracking equipment in coordination with the Rapid City Police Department, a Pennington County Deputy spotted the man a couple blocks away from his home walking in the Grandview Elementary playground area. Medical units checked him out and he appeared to be well.

“This gentleman was found safe,” says Lieutenant Dustin Morrison, “but it underscores a unique program that may be helpful to many in Pennington County. Project Lifesaver can make all the difference in finding an at-risk person who wanders away.”

Project Lifesaver is used for people on 24 hour supervision who are at risk of being lost. It was developed for locating missing persons with dementia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Down syndrome and other related issues. To receive the equipment, a caregiver fills out an application and meets with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. The at-risk person is outfitted with a bracelet that can be tracked with a transmitter, receiver, antenna and headphones that are kept in an onsite home or office.

PCSO volunteers change batteries every six weeks. The monitoring device is typically worn on the person’s ankle. Currently the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has two sets of volunteers who oversee 14 units. A total of 18 units are available.

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