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Citrus Heights police credit ‘Lifesaver’ program with helping rescue five at-risk residents

By Mike Hazlip—
A program in Citrus Heights which helps police locate at-risk residents who are prone to wandering off has helped rescue a total of five individuals during the course of the program.

Police Lt. Michael Wells told The Sentinel in an email Thursday there are 16 residents currently enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program, half of whom are children.

“They have diagnosis such as Downs Syndrome, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Dementia,” Wells said.

Over 60 Citrus Heights residents have been enrolled in the program since the program was launched in 2012, according to Wells. The free program is is provided through a partnership with a national nonprofit organization called Project Lifesaver.

Each enrollee is given a trackable radio frequency transmitter to wear around the ankle or wrist which enables police to help find the person, if reported missing.

“The program provides peace of mind to caregivers who are provided a plan for if their loved one goes missing,” Wells said.

Police previously said the department receives around 50 missing-person calls each month, with Project Lifesaver helping reduce search times from days to just minutes. One such incident occurred in 2014, when The Sentinel reported a 61-year-old man with dementia wandered from his Citrus Heights home, but was quickly located with the help of the program’s transmitter the man was wearing.

The battery-operated bracelets are maintained and replaced by Citrus Heights Police on a monthly basis, according to a brochure provided by the Citrus Heights Police Department.

Local businesses have also partnered with the police to sponsor the program. Rotary Club of Citrus Heights, Maita Honda, and Walmart are listed as sponsors. Citrus Heights neighborhood association areas 1, 2, 3, 10, and 11 have also contributed to the program, according to the brochure.

Additional sponsors are Lions Club, Batteries Plus, Signs in 1 Day, Sunrise Marketplace, U.S. Department of Justice, All Star Printing, Sacramento Association of Realtors, and Birdcage Marketplace.

Wells said Citrus Heights police were the first department in the area to participate in the program. Since then, Folsom Police, and Walnut Creek Police have adopted the program along with other agencies throughout the region, according to Wells. Nationally, the program has been used in over 3,000 rescue missions.

Information about how to enroll in the local program is posted on the police department’s website.

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