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Tracking Bracelet To Help Chula Vista Seniors

Aired 1/10/12 on KPBS News.

The Chula Vista Police Department is handing out electronic bracelets to help find seniors who've wandered from home.

The Chula Vista Police Department is handing out special tracking bracelets to help missing elderly people get back home quickly.

More than 60 seniors with mental disabilities like autism or Alzheimer’s disease were reported missing after wandering away from home in Chula Vista last year. All of them were found, but it many cases it took multiple officers many hours to find them.

The electronic bracelet, called an EmFinders device, uses cellular networks to tell officers the precise location of the person wearing it.

Edna Manriquez is a Senior Volunteer Patrol officer in Chula Vista who has responded to many reports for missing elderly people. She said the bracelet would cut down the time it takes to get someone home safely.

“It probably takes us five, six, seven hours to find them," she said of traditional searches. With the help of the electronic bracelet, "It will be within an hour."

Lt. Phil Collum said the police department will hand out up to 50 of the bracelets to seniors with mental disabilities and provide a year of service.

Chula Vista residents who think a family member might qualify can visit the police department website, or call (619) 476-2588.

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