JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to expand a program that helps locate lost loved ones. The program helped the High Ridge Fire Department track down a lost child within 30 minutes of the 911 call.
“I don’t even notice I have it on sometimes. I play pickleball, and it doesn’t bother me there,” said Ollie Deppong.
He said he spends a lot of time outdoors, so the small bracelet gives his wife, Debbie, comfort.
“I am so grateful that he has that little white thing on his wrist, and he’s so good about everything,” Debbie said. “If he were to get lost, they say 15–20 minutes they can find him.”
Deppong was recently diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia, and Debbie is blind. They haven’t had to use Project Lifesaver, but other families in Jefferson County have.
“We’ve had a story a couple of weeks back, where we saw this program live in action, and it wonderfully had a happy ending,” said Brianne Zwiener with the Jefferson County Health Department. “I think one of the huge benefits is peace of mind.”
Eligible families can enroll in the program for free. It has a 100% location success rate.
“There is a golden hour. The average person can walk four miles an hour. So we need to get out there very quickly,” said Austin Schwent, mental health coordinator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The bracelet works with radio waves, and each person has a unique frequency.
“We’re going to get on scene, and we’re going to tune our program specifically to them,” Schwent said. “I’m getting a loud chirp, and this meter is showing a very strong frequency. So I know that you’re within two miles.”
The signal gets louder as first responders get closer to the bracelet. Deppong and Debbie hope to never need it but say it’s a good thing to have just in case.
“It’s important to get this information out. Other people could use this, and I just don’t think they know about it,” Debbie said.
For more information about how to enroll, families may call the Jefferson County Health Department at 636-797-3737 and schedule an appointment to obtain a tracking bracelet for their household member.