‘Safety Net’ bracelets used by Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies to find those at high risk

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When a loved one disappears, every second counts, and that’s where high-tech tracking devices for those at high risk can come in handy.

A program called Safety Net is used all the time by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies to find people who disappear.

They wear bracelets that have proven to be life-savers.

It could have been used in the recent high-profile case that left a community in crisis, when 11-year-old Jenna Irmler, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, disappeared for nearly 40 hours.

From the ground to the air, a trained team of deputies uses the technology to find people in a matter of minutes.

“It’s very important,” said Deputy Allison Miller of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.  “It’s life-saving.”

It’s life-saving for families with loved ones who have autism or Alzheimer’s, who just vanish.

People wear the Safety Net bracelets, which give off a radio frequency.  A receiver then picks up that frequency within one mile on the ground and seven miles in the air.

News Channel 8 asked Deputy Miller if we had the bracelet on and were 20 miles away, how quickly they would find us.

“Utilizing air [the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office helicopter], we’d be able to find you in five minutes, two to five minutes,” she said.

Doctor Karen Berkman, with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida, worked with the sheriff’s office to start the program and continues with it today.

“We know this is a major concern, so we really want to be ahead of this,” she told News Channel 8

“It’s life-saving.  The difference is life-saving,” Miller said of wearing the bracelet.


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