The Project Lifesaver program celebrated its two year anniversary in Loudoun County, Virginia in February 2012.
The program, administered by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, is an electronic based tracking system for people with medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, or other conditions, that have a tendency to wander from home and become lost. The program allows Loudoun Deputies certified as Electronic Search Specialists to fit clients with a wristband transmitter that emits an automatic tracking signal. If the client becomes lost, the specially trained deputies will use a mobile antenna and hand-held directional device to help locate the client.
Since its inception in Loudoun County, twenty-six Sheriff’s Deputies have become certified in the program and are matched with twenty-six clients. In 2010, one of those clients went missing. Through the use of the electronic equipment the certified deputies were able to determine the victim had traveled to a local mall. She was located safe and sound.
“The goal of the program is not to have to conduct a search and rescue,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Michael L. Chapman. “It is a proactive program that gives the client’s caregiver peace of mind,” he added. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is one of 153 agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia to participate in the program and one of only four participating agencies in the Northern Virginia region.
Project Lifesaver is funded through several local, state and federal grants. Since the program began in 1999, Project Lifesaver agencies have rescued over 2,483 cognitively challenged individuals successfully with no serious injuries or deaths reported.