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You will pay a different price for Project Lifesaver depending on where you live

Posted at 7:10 PM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 21:56:07-05

Chesapeake, Va. - Depending on where you live will determine how much you pay for a potentially life-saving device.

NewsChannel 3 learned how there's a big difference in the cost for Project Lifesaver and got results for one Chesapeake family.

8-year-old Jeffrey and 7-year-old Jonathan Frank are brothers and their mother, Traci says they both have autism.

“It is really scary when they run,” said Traci Frank.

She said Jeffrey especially can be too friendly and doesn't understand danger.

"We would go to McDonald's and he would sit a stranger's lap,” she said.

In June, the family moved from Virginia Beach to Chesapeake and wanted to re-enroll in Project Lifesaver program.

It's an international program run in over 1,400 different agencies.  In Hampton Roads, the Sheriffs' Offices in each city run the program. The police department runs the program in Virginia Beach.

People with conditions prone to wandering like Autism or  Alzheimer’s can sign up.

They get a bracelet with a small transmitter which would help first responders locate the person in the event they went missing.

For three years, Jeffrey and Jonathan were signed up with the program in Virginia Beach.

Their parents paid $9 a month per boy for the device.

"I’m thinking it should not be a problem, I’m just switching cities,” said Traci Frank.

But the problem was the cost.

Chesapeake is more expensive and Traci Frank said the family couldn't afford it when they moved.

“That was difficult enough when it was one child. But with two, that was an awful lot,” said Traci Frank.

Chesapeake just lowered their prices.  They used to charge $300 for the bracelet and $25 per month for the service.

Now they charge $210 dollars for the bracelet and $15 per month for the service.

Most cities don't charge for the bracelet at all.

The monthly fee in Hampton is $25.

Portsmouth and Norfolk charge $10 per month.

In Virginia Beach, it costs people $9 per month and it's totally free in Newport News, Suffolk and Williamsburg.

Traci Frank said, "One of the worst things to happen to me would be for something to happen to one of my children.”

NewsChannel 3 took action to find out why the cost is different in different cities.

Leaders with the Chesapeake Sheriffs Office said there is no city money used to fund their program and they are constantly looking for ways to raise more money for programs like this.

They stress that no family who needs Project Lifesaver should go without it so when they heard about the situation, they took action and sent officers over to Traci's house to get the boys signed up with the program.

Jeffrey and Jonathan both got bracelets and got results.

“I am thrilled that they are willing to do that,” said Traci Frank.

Now Jonathan and Jeffrey have more protection, which could potentially save their lives.

Related: 

Former Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf gets Project Lifesaver bracelet

Auto enthusiasts show up to support Project Lifesaver in Newport News

How do police agencies handle calls for service involving people with autism?