Monmouth County: The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is acknowledging National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month during November and throughout the year by its dedication to locating individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, through the Project Lifesaver Program. The program uses radio signals to track individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and autism when they wander and become missing.
“Project Lifesaver is a lifesaving tool for families who have loved ones with a condition or illness that causes them to wander,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “It can benefit them greatly by the safety and security provided through participation in the Project Lifesaver program.”
Since its implementation in 2003, Monmouth County has had seven rescues of individuals who have wandered, all under thirty minutes, the fastest in nine minutes. The partnership between the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Monmouth County Office on Aging was initially funded through the purchase of equipment made possible through a grant from the Older Americans Act.
The program was expanded to include individuals with autism in 2007 with the Monmouth County Department of Human Services joining the partnership and securing funding with grants from New Jersey Natural Gas Company, Jersey Central Power and Light Company and a grant from the State of New Jersey.
There are currently 105 individuals on the Project Lifesaver program, 32 adults and 73 juveniles in Monmouth County.
Each radio transmitter worn by an individual has a unique frequency. Should the client become missing, the Sheriff’s Office has four receivers with which to track the missing individual. The range for the radio receiver is one mile on the ground, one quarter mile when roof mounted and five to seven miles in a helicopter.
Applications for enrollment in Project Lifesaver are processed through the Monmouth County Office on Aging. Once approved, the applications are sent to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office where personnel go to the residence of the individual, teach the family about Project Lifesaver and install the wristlet (transmitter). Sheriff’s personnel will return in either 30 or 60 days, depending on the model of the transmitter, to change the batteries and check on the condition of the client. Should the client be reported missing, sheriff’s officers immediately respond with the Project Lifesaver receivers to locate the missing individual.
Nationwide, the Project Lifesaver program is in forty-seven states and has a 100% recovery rate with 2,915 rescues of missing persons. The average time for a Project Lifesaver rescue is under thirty minutes.
“Even though we recognize National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month throughout November, it’s vital to note that the law enforcement community is committed to acknowledging this disease year round in an effort to maintain the safety of individuals and spare families a lot of grief when locating a loved one who goes missing,” said Sheriff Golden.