CHELMSFORD – Chief James Spinney reports that the Chelmsford Police Department has purchased several SafetyNet bracelets, which assist in locating individuals enrolled in the SafetyNet program should they go missing.
The SafetyNet system is designed to help locate missing individuals with cognitive impairments, including those with autism, dementia and Alzheimer’s, more quickly than through traditional means.
Nine Chelmsford Police Officers have already been trained to use the system, and more will be trained in the coming months.
On average, it takes just 30 minutes to locate missing individuals with the help of SafetyNet. Since 2010, the SafetyNet system has assisted in 989 searches in which the user has been found safe.
Those who take part in the program will be equipped with a SafetyNet bracelet to wear on their wrist or ankle at all times. The bracelet features a radio frequency transmitter that emits a continuous signal that helps locate the user’s precise location if they go missing.
Once first responders are alerted that a SafetyNet user is missing, they will respond to the last known location of the individual in a vehicle fixed with an antenna that is able to track the signal emitted from the bracelet. The antenna eliminates large parts of the search area and allows first responders to track the location of the missing person as close as a quarter of a mile, at which point first responders transition to a handheld tracking device. The handheld device allows first responders to further minimize the search area and eventually locate the missing individual.
SafetyNet’s radio frequency technology has been found to be more effective than GPS, especially in difficult conditions like densely wooded areas, buildings, basements and shallow water.
“The SafetyNet system is an effective and reliable way for the Chelmsford Police Department to be more proactive about protecting potentially vulnerable members of our community,” said Chief Spinney. “When a community member goes missing, time is of the essence and this program and technology will enable us to locate missing individuals more quickly. We think this program has great potential to save lives.”
Residents who wish to take part in the program should contact Officer Matthew Fernald at email@example.com, or by calling 978-256-2521 x301, or contact Officer Shawn Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 978-256-2521 x275.
The program and bracelet are free for Chelmsford residents.