St. George Police Department’s ‘Project Lifesaver’ program gets boost from Dixie Elks Lodge

Dixie Elks Lodge 1743 presents check for $4,035 to the St. George Police Department for its Project Lifesaver program, St. George, Utah, Nov. 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Dixie Elks Lodge, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Elks Lodge provided a financial boost to the St. George Police Department’s “Project Lifesaver” program — a valuable tool for officers tasked with finding individuals who may be lost and confused.

L-R: St. George Police Detective Derek Lewis and Leo Lane with the Dixie Elks Lodge during check presentation for Project Lifesaver program, St. George, Utah, Nov. 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Dixie Elks Lodge, St. George News

The St. George Police Department was presented a check for $4,035 from the Dixie Elks Lodge 1743 Monday to help support the program.

Project Lifesaver is a unique, wearable rapid response system that helps reduce the potential for serious injury and even death for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism and other conditions.

The money was raised during a First Responders Golf Tournament held at Southgate Golf Course in April, Bob Matteson, public relations chair for the Dixie Elks, told St. George News.

The St. George Dixie Elks Charitable Foundation was created in 1999 by a group of Dixie Elks Lodge members who wanted to give back to the community by giving to charitable works and programs that need additional funding.

This year, board members initially considered using the funds to support the St. George Police Department’s K-9 unit, Matteson said, but once they learned that Project Lifesaver operates using grants and donations, they felt it was the right program for them to support.

“It took us a while to figure out where we wanted the money to go,” he said. “But once we learned how Project Lifesaver worked, we knew where the funds would go.”

The Dixie Elks Lodge’s donation will cover the cost of maintaining the program for a year, St. George Police Detective Derek Lewis said in a statement.

“We want to give a huge thanks to Dixie Elks 1743 for their recent donation of over $4,000.00 to the Project Life Saver Program,” St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said.

Project Lifesaver

Project Lifesaver is a proven and effective search and rescue program, according to its website. It uses a LoJack SafetyNet tracking system designed for “at-risk” populations – from children with mental disabilities to adults with Alzheimer’s – reducing the time, funds and manpower needed to locate an individual. More than 1,200 law enforcement departments nationwide use the system.

Dixie Elks Lodge 1743 presents a check for $4,035 to the St. George Police Department for its Project Lifesaver program, St. George, Utah, Nov. 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Dixie Elks Lodge, St. George News

The average recovery time is less than 30 minutes.

The Project Lifesaver unit is a metal bracelet that contains a tracking device that is synced to the local police department so that if the wearer wanders off or becomes lost they can be found more quickly.

The wearable device is not a GPS, but it does track the wearer, and therefore works in more unusual situations such as in water or even under a building.

Project Lifesaver was first brought to the area after St. George Police Detective Derek Lewis began researching different programs capable of reducing the amount of time it takes to find a missing person, thus increasing the chance for a positive outcome.

After discussing the issue with the then St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton, Lewis found that Project Lifesaver provided what the department was looking for, and he soon applied for grants to fund the program in St. George.

Soon afterward, other agencies in the county came on board including the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the LaVerkin City and Hurricane City police departments. The Washington City and Santa Clara/Ivins police departments enrolled in the program separately.

The cost of each unit varies from $300 to $350. Project Lifesaver is funded through donations and grants, Lewis said in a previous interview, and for individuals who fit the criteria, it is provided at no cost. Additionally, there are no monthly monitoring or service charges because if an individual goes missing and police are contacted then they conduct the search using their own equipment.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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