Danville Project Lifesaver Hoping to Expand

Danville, VA - The Danville Sheriff's Office says the lifesaving program has a 100% success rate, and now they want to expand it in the city.

The Sheriff's Office here has used the program for more than a decade. It is a tracking system for those prone to wandering off, such as children with autism or adults with dementia. And it works.

"He is a little explorer," said Chuck Vipperman, parent of autistic child.

Vipperman's adventurous and autistic 6-year-old son Charlie had given him a scare in the past. Before Charlie joined Project Lifesaver, he had briefly wandered off.

"Those 2 to 3 minutes, that's as about empty a feeling as I've ever had and I'd rather not revisit it," said Vipperman.

So, the Vippermans decided to take advantage of this free service from the Danville Sheriff's Office. Once the bracelet went on, his parent's worries disappeared.

"It is amazing the peace of mind you get. On a day to day basis you have enough challenges dealing with a special needs child and to have the peace of mind that comes with not really worrying about them wandering off, it's impossible to quantify that," said Vipperman.

The Sheriff's Office says they average 2 to 3 Project Lifesaver searches a year, all with complete success. So, now they hope to now broaden the program by working with Danville schools to spread the word.

"We'd love to have 10 times what we have on it now the children and all," said Deputy Billy Payne.

They say the more at-risk children they get onboard, the better for everyone. And Vipperman couldn't agree more.

"From a parent's perspective, I can tell you it has given us a relief. Hopefully we will never have to use it but it is there if we need it," said Vipperman.

They are still in the beginning stages of working with Danville schools. The only request they have is to arrange a time and place to meet with them, once a month, to change the batteries.

If you want more information, contact the Danville Sheriff's Office at 401 Patton Street, Danville, Virginia. Or call them at (434)799-5135.