11/6/17 – Officials in Beaver Dam are hoping a program to locate missing persons will be expanded into the city. Project LifeSaver is a nationwide, non-profit effort that works with local search and rescue units to monitor individuals with a tendency to wander, perhaps due to cognitive conditions such as autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome. A wristwatch-sized device with a small FM radio transmitter is attached to a wrist or ankle. The transmitter emits a radio signal which is trackable using a receiver operated by law enforcement or other first responders.
Beaver Dam resident Kristy Hartzheim has used Project LifeSaver for her 10-year-old son Karter since the Dodge Count Sheriff’s Office signed onto the program in 2015. She says having Beaver Dam police officers equipped and trained in the program would benefit everyone in the area and save time in locating those who have wandering off. She says it would also enhance learning opportunities, for example, when police officers visit local schools to educate students and staff about Project LifeSaver.
Beaver Dam Police Sergeant Erik Smedema says the department is looking to raise roughly $10-thousand dollars to acquire the needed equipment and provide training sessions for officers. He says the hope is to also establish a reserve fund to help ease the financial burden for those who need help paying the costs for the regular replacement of batteries and disposable wristbands.
Hartzheim says the community’s help is needed, especially if more residents are added to the program. Donations can be brought to the BMO Harris Bank on Park Avenue in Beaver Dam or to the Beaver Dam Police Department. A Go Fund Me page is also being set-up.