Worcester Telegram & Gazette
By Scott Croteau
WORCESTER — A deputy for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office walked into Elm Park yesterday, far away from her co-workers standing on the nearby sidewalk.
With their backs turned, the cohorts grabbed a radio frequency monitoring device and antenna. Pointing the antenna in a few directions, a signal sounded from the monitoring device and became stronger as they approached the deputy. She was found.
On the deputy’s wrist was a bracelet that emits a radio frequency. The bracelet allowed her co-workers to track her down.
The sheriff’s office has been working with the SafetyNet by LoJack program for more than a year, but recently Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis decided to expand the program and outfit five cruisers in the Civil Process Division and train eight civil process deputies.
Families of elderly who might suffer from Alzheimer’s or children with conditions such as autism have used the program. There are 44 people signed up in Worcester County, Deputy Tuttle said. The office is hoping others in need of the service will sign up as well.
The deputies were trained in December and the expanded program was rolled out Jan. 1. The program by LoJack costs $99 to start and $35 a month after, but Chief Deputy Sheriff David H. Tuttle said there are organizations people can use to help defray some of the cost. The sheriff’s office doesn’t want people to be discouraged from using the program because of the cost.
“We hope that someday it will make a difference in someone’s life,” Sheriff Evangelidis said. “We wanted to make this more available because it seems like every day you hear about someone disappearing. You hear those stories, they break your heart, and you think here’s an opportunity, there is the technology, lets make it available.”
Each bracelet has a unique radio frequency and the deputies have a folder with each person’s information. The equipment can track people on land for a mile and into 16 feet of water or in basements.
“Our deputies are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to missing persons throughout Worcester County,” Deputy Tuttle sad. “The Civil Process Deputies spend every day working in the communities across Worcester County serving court papers and delivering other legal documents.”
Deputy Tuttle said the deputies live in different parts of Worcester County, making it easy for deputies to respond to a geographical region quickly.
Those who want to learn more about the program can visit https://safetynetbylojack.com.