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Alzheimer’s group wants drone for search and rescue

By Chelsea Vance | The Selma Times-Journal

The Alzheimer’s Outreach Group presented a plan Monday to the Valley Grande City Council that could help aid the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office in search and rescue efforts.

Alzheimer’s Outreach Group is a nonprofit organization that supports Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.

The group is raising money to purchase a drone the sheriff’s department could use in searches for wandering people. The drone is equipped with night vision and spotlight.

The group started working on “The Drone Project” in November and has raised $2,500. The total cost is $10,000.

AOG Director Oscar Wayne Calloway said there’s a need for the equipment.

“ This is what the sheriff’s department so desperately needs for search and rescue,” Calloway said.

AOG has already purchased five transmitter bracelets that can be used to track someone who has Alzheimer’s or autism if they ever get lost.

They purchased the bracelets at $300 each but are offering them for free. Those interested should contact the Dallas County Sheriff Office. Qualifications include being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or autism.

Calloway believes that in addition to the bracelets, the drone will enhance search and rescue.

“You are limited on the ground, but once you get in the air your reach expands. The radius that you can go out and search goes from one mile to a two or three mile radius,” Calloway said.

Valley Grande Mayor Wayne Labbe believes that “The Drone Project” is a great idea.

“This is a very good project. To find people with autism or anything like that. If we donate two or three thousand dollars and one person is found, you can’t put a price on life. If we can, it would be a very good thing to donate to,” Labbe said.

The council will consult an attorney prior to deciding on if they are going to donate money to the project and, if so, how much.