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LA County officials announce launch of bracelet program aimed at locating missing individuals with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s

Fourth+District+Los+Angeles+County+Supervisor+Janice+Hahn+announced+the+official+launch+of+%E2%80%9CLA+Found%2C%E2%80%9D+a+countywide+initiative+that+aims+to+locate+missing+individuals+with+autism%2C+dementia+or+Alzheimer%E2%80%99s+disease%2C+on+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+5+during+a+press+event+at+the+Los+Angeles+Sheriff%E2%80%99s+Department+heliport.+
Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced the official launch of “LA Found,” a countywide initiative that aims to locate missing individuals with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, on Wednesday, Sept. 5 during a press event at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department heliport.

Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced the official launch of “LA Found,” a countywide initiative that aims to locate missing individuals with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, on Wednesday, Sept. 5 during a press event at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department heliport.

Photo by Henry Salazar

Photo by Henry Salazar

Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced the official launch of “LA Found,” a countywide initiative that aims to locate missing individuals with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, on Wednesday, Sept. 5 during a press event at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department heliport.

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Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, in association with Los Angeles city officials, officially launched “LA Found,” a countywide initiative that aims to locate missing individuals with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

To commemorate the program’s launch, Hahn was joined by Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Cynthia Banks, director of the LA County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department (WDACS), at a press event Wednesday at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s heliport.

LA Found features a system of traceable bracelets that can be located using receivers carried in LA Sheriff’s Department (LASD) helicopters and designated ground units.

“If you have cared for someone with dementia or autism, you know the fear of what might happen if you turn your back for just one minute,” Hahn said at the event. “LA Found will not only save lives, it will finally give caregivers some peace of mind. If someone you love goes missing, LA County is ready to step in and help find them.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60 percent of people with dementia will wander at some point. A study by the Interactive Autism Network found that 49 percent of children with autism will engage in wandering behavior.

“Our LASD mission is to be the eyes and ears in the sky and on the ground,” McDonnell said. “This technology literally enables lost loved ones to communicate their location to us and enable us to do all we can as first responders to bring peace, comfort and families back together again.”

According to Hahn’s office, LA County has more than 177,000 residents with Alzheimer’s disease.

The bracelets are provided by nonprofit organization Project Lifesaver. The bracelet is not under constant monitoring, but when an individual wearing said bracelet goes missing, caregivers can call 9-1-1, and the police agency or sheriff’s station will inform the Sheriff’s Department Mental Evaluation Team to deploy receivers to help locate the missing person. The Project Lifesaver bracelet uses radio-frequency technology to transmit an electronic “chirping” signal to help rescuers locate the wearer.

Electronic handheld receivers are used to locate missing persons with the bracelets and are being used by law-enforcement agencies across the country, according to Hahn’s office. Weather permitting, airborne searching improves the distance a signal can be detected using specially-equipped sheriff’s service helicopters.

In order to qualify for the program, caregivers must first schedule a phone interview with either the LASD or WDACS through lafound.com.

According to Liz Odendahl, communications director with Hahn’s office, the interview is designed to verify that the bracelet will be legitimately used on a “vulnerable person” who requires assistance. Once an at-risk individual qualifies, the caregiver will be allowed to purchase and register the bracelet with the LASD.

The bracelets cost $325, plus shipping and handling. Leasing opportunities are available through Project Lifesaver.

There is a waiting list to be considered for a free bracelet. Odendahl told the Signal Tribune that officials began compiling the list the same day of the event. There are 330 available bracelets, as of press time, but she said “we will go through them quickly.”
Call 1-833-569-7651 or email [email protected] to be placed on the waiting list. More information is available on the aforementioned website at lafound.com.

“We want caregivers to know that the County is here for you,” Banks said. “Through LA Found, we are not only providing access to tracking bracelets, but collaborating with law-enforcement agencies, municipalities and other partners to improve emergency coordination, while providing information and resources to support individuals caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or autism.”

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LA County officials announce launch of bracelet program aimed at locating missing individuals with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s