‘Peace of mind.’ Bordentown Township police tout program to help find missing persons

A Burlington County police department wants to spread the word about a free program that can help locate lost loved ones should they go missing.
The Bordentown Township Police Department is touting the program after a child with autism went missing on Monday night.
“Anything you can have to just give you a little bit of that peace of mind, it goes so far,” says Scott Ackerman.
Ackerman and his wife Kristina Ackerman say that the program has changed their lives. Their 8-year-old daughter Bailey has autism and has wandered away in the past.
“Bailey was about 3 years old and she managed to figure out how to open up her window, not from the bottom, but from the top and climb out of it,” Ackerman says. “Made her way halfway down the street. Had one of our neighbors not been outside, we don’t even want to know what happens.”
The family now participates in Project Lifesaver. Baily wears a transmitter and should she ever take off again, police or the Burlington County Sheriff’s Office would know how to find her.
Bordentown Township police say that earlier this week another child with autism went missing. That child was not part of the Project Lifesaver program, but police were still able to find the child. But they say that it is a much more difficult process.
“When I came in for that night shift, unfortunately they weren’t a client of ours, so I didn’t have a tracking device,” says Officer James Chiariello. “We did the old ‘stick-and-rudder’ trick or just trying to search for the person in the general area.”
Police say that process is different with Project Lifesaver.
“When we get to the area last seen, we use our equipment and it will chirp,” says Detective Sgt. Jill Gianni.
The chirping will get louder as the device gets closer to the lost person. The Ackermans say that the device is invaluable.
“This gives us peace of mind whenever we go out wherever we are,” says Kristina Ackerman. Whether at the playground or if she’s at grandma’s house. We know that if she gets away from the person who’s with her will be able to find her easily.”
The program is open to adults as well for those who may have dementia or tend to wander off. To date, Project Lifesaver has helped locate more than 3,700 people. The most recent case in New Jersey was in Bridgeton last month.
More information about Project Lifesaver can be found on the program’s website.