EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County officials launched new technology to make it easier to find people who wander away from home.
The L.A. Found tracking program went live on Wednesday. The initiative, led by L.A. County Board of Supervisor Janice Hahn, is meant to help locate individuals with dementia, Alzheimer's disease or autism who wander.
The initiative establishes a voluntary system of trackable bracelets for at-risk individuals. While the watch-like device is not under constant monitoring, when an individual wearing the bracelet goes missing, caregivers can inform the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The sheriff's department will then deploy receivers to locate the missing person. Receivers are either handheld or mounted onto sheriff department first responder helicopters.
Sgt. Kevin Tiwari said the sheriff's department spends a tremendous amount of time conducting searches when victims get lost.
"It is very frequent. Obviously, we're 4,400 square miles throughout L.A. County, so a missing person could happen almost every day at every station," he said.
The tracking program was inspired, in part, by the story of Nancy Poulikas. The Alzheimer's patient disappeared almost two years ago without a trace. Nancy's husband, Kirk Moody, is convinced the tracking system would have changed that.
"In that particular case, I would have been able to call the sheriff's department, and in that area, they probably would have been able to find her, you know, within an hour," he said.
The technology behind the tracking system has been around for decades, and other police departments are already using it. So far, the system has a 100 percent success rate.
For families of the most vulnerable, the system will provide peace of mind knowing loved ones can be found.
For law enforcement, the tracking system will give a powerful tool in finding those who have lost their way.
Those interested in the initiative can learn more at LAFound.com.