CCSO helping ease fears of loved ones getting lost with Project Lifesaver

For some families, the fear that their loved one with dementia or autism may wander off and get lost is real. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is now helping to ease those fears with “Project Lifesaver.”

It is a life-saving equipment that we use in the sheriff’s office to locate people who have wandered,” said Tammy Wilkie, Project Lifesaver coordinator and community affairs specialist for CCSO.

She’s also a tracker. Last year, when a woman went missing, Wilkie quickly found her.

She was at a next-door neighbor’s,” she said. “She was a little frazzled, so she went for a cup of tea.”

It’s a radio transmitter, that can be worn like a watch or an anklet, and handheld tracker. It should only be taken off to charge the battery. It may look a little old school, but it works and makes someone like Judi Quinn, the mother of an autistic child, sleep better at night.

It helps me to relax a lot, to sleep at night, because no matter how many locks you have or alarms in your house, they can always find a way,” Quinn said.

After her daughter, Erin Miller, had wandered off several times, Quinn decided it was time for a tracker.

Erin says it definitely makes her feel safer knowing she has it on.

“I know whatever she does, they’re going to be able to find her,” Quinn said.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office will assess any requests to enter the program and it is at a minimal cost. Wilkie will work with every family to make sure they have one if they can’t pay for the tracker.

“We average about 30 to 35 people throughout the year,” said Wilkie. “This isn’t that expensive to save a life.”

CCSO has already had four documented saves here with Project Lifesaver and about 3,700 nationwide.

For more information about Project Lifesaver, click here.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Briana Harvath
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