Police put new tracking system to the test

Posted: 5:02 PM EST Nov 19, 2013   Updated: 7:09 PM EST Nov 19, 2013

Police in Allentown and Bethlehem have a new tool that could save time and lives.

"These walkaways will lead to extensive man hour hours, frustration for family for police," said Lt. William Reinik, Allentown Police Dept. "Sometimes, it's a needle in a haystack."

On Tuesday, however, the needle wasn't a person but a gray transmitter. It was a substitute for those with neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's and autism, who are prone to wander off. It was part of a training day for Project Lifesaver.

"It's extremely effective," said Deputy Kathleen Kruger, Onondaga County Sheriff's Dept.

The department, which has run the program near Syracuse, led the training. 

Subjects wear a transmitter wristband. Through high tech antennas, police are able to hone in on targets via radio frequencies.

"Typically, 20-30 minutes or less. Most times less," Kruger described.

"It's a good day because it's being done," said Martha Lieberman, of Allentown.

For two-and-a-half years, Lieberman worked to revive Project Lifesaver in the Lehigh Valley.

"My mom tried to start the program 10 years ago, and it didn't work. She just passed away the end of September," Lieberman said through tears.

Judith Lieberman was a tireless community advocate who 69 News interviewed several years ago on scams targeting the elderly.

"They have a way of sending someone to the front door and then getting in the back door," she said.

For Project Lifesaver, police said all that's needed now is for people to sign up, but for Martha Lieberman, just getting here is a testament to her family's tenacity.

"Just keep pushing. Keep pushing and don't give up," she said.