ELK GROVE (CBS13) – When a loved one is lost or wanders away, it could take hours or days to find them; but a new program is helping officers in Elk Grove find people faster.

Jeffrey Weiler is demonstrating an antenna tool at the Elk Grove Police Department.

“Normally we start at a 360-degree angle, so we can find the strongest signal strength,” said Weiler.

It’s called Project Lifesaver.

“Absent this, we are really using police procedures from the 1950s and 1960s, doing ground searches and line searches,” said Weiler.

The antenna is linked to a band.

“This really pinpoints us in the right direction from the get go,” said Weiler.

It’s crucial when someone with a cognitive condition wanders or gets lost,” said Weiler.

“It works best in conjunction with a partner, who can also help triangulate from a different angle,” said Weiler.

It’s a new approach that typically has two officers working together with antennas, cutting down on search time and manpower.

“Chances are, if they are not found in the first hour, there’s a very high likelihood of injuries or death to that person,” said Weiler.

The key is for caregivers to call immediately when someone is missing; and taking advantage of the free program that is called project lifesaver for a reason.

“This is a great asset to have,” said Weiler.

If you live in Elk Grove and are interested in Project Lifesaver, it’s free to those who qualify.

There’s an application process that includes a doctor’s signature.

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