The Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) has chosen to utilize the services of Project Lifesaver in its Loved Ones Safe and Together (LOST) program, which assists in identifying and locating community members with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, memory loss, confusion, or other medical conditions who have become lost or separated from their families and caretakers. The program was implemented earlier this year in collaboration with the East Central Iowa Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Autism Center, Iowa City Area Autism-Asperger Syndrome Family Group, Handicare, The Village Community, and the Autism and Safety Risk Initiative.
ICPD personnel will host a community and media presentation on the system from 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, April 29 in Emma J. Harvat Hall in City Hall, 410 East Washington Street, Iowa City. No registration is required, and the public is invited to attend.
Project Lifesaver International is a nonprofit organization that has received federal assistance to help agencies across the country start the Project Lifesaver program in their communities. This is the only certified training program in the country for public safety agencies to learn to assist people with these issues. Individuals with these cognitive conditions who are enrolled in the program wear a personalized Project Lifesaver wristwatch-sized radio transmitter that allows first responders to locate them quickly. Rescue personnel receive specialized training from Project Lifesaver, not only on how to operate the tracking equipment, but also on key techniques to address behavioral and communication challenges specific to people with cognitive conditions—a skill critical to gaining the missing person’s trust and facilitating a safe escort home.
Nationwide, over 1,400 law enforcement agencies are members of Project Lifesaver, which boasts an average find-time of 30 minutes, over 3,000 successful searches to date, and a 100% success rate. Since the national average for standard search and recovery missions is nine hours, this program dramatically reduces the time and cost associated with these missions, and saves lives.
For more information or to enroll in the LOST program, visit https://icgov.org/LOSTprogram or contact the ICPD at 319-356-5275.