Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office program continues to save lives
A missing man from Middletown was found in just 90-minutes earlier this month as the result of a lifesaving program in Monmouth County.
The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office Project Lifesaver Program, which started in 2003, uses special state of the art technology to find people with Autism, Dementia (including Alzheimer's) or memory disorders who have a tendency to wander off.
Monmouth County officials brought what started as a program in Virginia with Project Lifesaver and became national to the Jersey shore just 15-years ago and it continues to grow.
That's when the Monmouth County Sheriff's Officer partnered up with the MC Office on Aging to fund the special bracelets participants in the program continue to use and need.
"The program has expanded tremendously and we opted to use that same life-saving technology and make it available to those on the autism spectrum," Sheriff Shaun Golden said. "To date we have 168 project lifesaver participants in Monmouth County, 49 of them are adults that have a tendency to wander due to Alzheimer's/Dementia or some other medical ailment but the other 119 are juveniles with special needs."
Golden says some of the statistics ranged from across the country with the program show an average recovery time for the missing person to be about 30-minutes but they've been able to find program participants in 9-minutes as well.
A big part of why and how it works in Monmouth County especially with those on the autism spectrum in the program is by collaborating efforts with the MC Special Needs Registry and their special needs coordinator Fran Hynes who makes sure the bracelets are functional and both the family and law enforcement understand what its activation means.
What helps track a missing person is the bracelet that each program participant wears and can track them 24/7 and works on a radio beacon.
"The bracelet, when activated in the software program, automatically sends a beacon out to the radio identifier equipment," Golden said. "If there's a project lifesaver activation, that information gets put into the program and instantly the radio tracking equipment is set to that identification and the tracking process begins to that radio transmitter."
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.
In the event of a missing person, the family is briefed on what to do ahead of time and how to proceed with letting police know.
"They simply state to the 9-1-1 operator that they are apart of project lifesaver," Golden said. "The operator can then look up actual name I-D in the computer dispatch software and send that information to the patrol and K-9 units that are going to be looking for the individual."
They've had 10 rescues so far since the program's been active in Monmouth County.
To learn more or sign-up for the Project Lifesaver Program in Monmouth County visit the Sheriff's Office website.
More From The Jersey Shore: