Last year the Menominee County Sheriff Department had one missing persons search. And in 2010 they had two searches for missing people.
Still, Sheriff Kenny Marks said even one search a year is just too many. He recently purchased eight personalized wristbands that emit a unique FM tracking signal. It's not a watch, but it can help cut down on time. Specifically, it cuts down on time spent searching for people with Alzheimer's, autism, or developmental disorders who get lost.
In the past, a three or four day search with rescue helicopters and airplanes could cost up to a couple hundred thousand dollars. Now, with Project Lifesaver, more people can be found with less time and less money being used in the search.
A Wisconsin State coordinator for Project Lifesaver International trained law enforcement and volunteers on the tracking receivers. They put their skills to the test.
The wristbands that emit the tracking signal cost around $300 each. Marks applied for a grant from the Hannahville Indian Community, which paid for most of the cost.
"This is just another tool to improve our ability to track and to help save lives," said Marks. "That's because it's very important since this is all about timeliness."
Coordinator Deputy Neil Johnson said the tracking radius is limited to a mile. It can even track under water.
Neil says the average time of finding someone is less than thirty minutes.
"The success rate is over 2,400 searches nationwide," said Johnson. "It's just amazing, and it just needs to get out. The problem is getting people to know that it's here."
Sheriff Marks said the plan is to turn no one in need of a wristband away.
If you'd like to donate to the cause or find out how to get a wristband, you can contact the Sheriff Department and ask about the Project Lifesaver Equipment.