HOUSTON — The older our parents get, the more we worry about them wandering off.
It’s such a concern that the state of Texas created the Silver Alert. It’s a statewide alert issued whenever a senior citizen who has a cognitive disorder or is dependent on medications is reported missing.
Sometimes the person is safe and located, other times it’s the worst case scenario.
But, a piece of technology is changing the game in Harris County.
In 2019, it’s considered low-tech -- signal sent and received through radio frequency.
But, it works. In fact, it’s a life saver.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is teaming with Project LifeSaver to train and equip deputies with the radio technology.
The tracking device can be worn on a person's wrist or ankle and is designed to locate people with cognitive disorders like autism, dementia or Alzheimer's and are prone to wandering to the point that it is life-threatening.
The louder the beep, the closer the receiver is to the transmitter.
On its website, Project LifeSaver says with the technology, the recovery time averages about 30 minutes.
Without it, "we’re down to the old style of police work," said Sgt. Brian Brawner, who is spearheading the training for the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "A lot of police officers out there walking the streets, knocking on doors. That takes a lot of time."
Deputies in west Harris County are getting trained and equipped first.
The sheriff's office is hoping members of the community see the value in the technology and donate, because each bracelet costs about $400 and deputies think about 300 residents could benefit from the technology.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office would like to offer the tracking technology for free.
"So when we have partnerships with our community, it really will help take out the burden of cost out of the department’s pockets," Brawner said.
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