Project Lifesaver helps DeKalb County police find missing loved ones

Technology is making it easier to reunite families with missing loved ones.

It's been one year since the DeKalb County Police Department joined Project Lifesaver - a way to track people with cognitive issues who may wander from their homes.

When someone goes missing, DeKalb County Detective Jay Hayes knows every minute matters.

"We understand that whenever a loved one goes missing that it's a stressful situation and everyone is frightened and everyone wants to find their loved one," Hayes said.

He recently responded to a call for a missing man, but this time, he had extra help.

With Project Lifesaver, families can sign up with the DeKalb County Police Department and get a bracelet and a three-digit ID number for their loved ones who have conditions like dementia.

Police use that bracelet to help track family members down when they go missing.

"The closer I get to the device, the louder the chirps become," Hayes explains.

In this case, it took about 40 minutes to find the missing man. The average missing person case can take up to eight hours or longer.

"I'm actually the one who located the client. The client was in an area, in a terrain that was full of brush in a wooded area. I truly feel like without this device we would not have found this client," he said.

It was the first time Hayes used the device for a live-action track.

In less than a year the devices have helped DeKalb County police in seven cases. There are 16 devices currently in use.

It also can help families find their loved ones on their own.

"We have had several incidents where loved ones go outside of the perimeter and the actual caregiver is able to locate them before we have to get involved," Hayes said.

That saves the police time while also keeping vulnerable people safe.

For more information on Project Lifesaver, contact the DeKalb County Police Department.

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