A new partnership announced by the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office will provide assistance to those who have gone missing and are at risk of serious injury or death due to a cognitive impairment.

Project Lifesaver: 'Bringing Loved Ones Home'

Project Lifesaver, which is a 501(C)(3) organization, provides assistance to individuals with cognitive disorders who are 'prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering.' Founded in 1999, the program was designed through the 'correlation between cognitive conditions and the act of wandering.  With the dramatic increase of cognitive conditions since the inception of the organization, the program has grown from a localized program to a program recognized internationally as a proven and effective method of 'bringing loved ones home.'

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Project Lifesaver, which is now an international organization, specializes in training and providing equipment for first responders to help locate individuals who have gone missing and are at risk of injury or death due to their cognitive impairment.

Under their classification, cognitive impairment includes those with Autism, Down's syndrome, Alzheimer's Disease and any other impairment that puts an individual at risk of wandering.

Dutchess County Partners With Project Lifesaver

In a press release on May 24th, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office announced they were a proud partner of Project Lifesaver.  Sheriff Imperati shared the following:

Project Lifesaver has been proven to be an extremely valuable tool in locating missing people at risk of serious injury or death, and at the Sheriff’s Office we are very excited to now have it available to us. We hope to never have to use it, but if an at-risk individual goes missing in Dutchess County its nice to know that we now have a greater chance of locating them unharmed thanks to this outstanding program.

The program itself outfits the person with a 'watch-like' transmitter that emits a frequency specific to that person, and is connected to a receiver that is used by first responders as a location device.

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According to the press release, the program has a 100% recovery rate to date, with more than 4,000 completed searches.  During said searches, all of the missing individuals were recovered within an average time of 30 minutes, sustaining no serious injuries or death.  There is no monthly cost to be part of the program, however, to participate, individuals must be enrolled and there are some out of pocket expenses for the equipment.

The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office has assigned a Project Lifesaver Coordinator, as well as a supervisor to these efforts.  For those interested in learning more about enrollment,  they can contact Deputy Russell Seymour at 845-486-3658 or rseymour@dutchessny.gov.

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