Project Lifesaver makes it debut in Monroe Co.

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office along with AutismUp, The Alzheimer’s Association, and Mary Cariola Children’s Center debuted Project Lifesaver Monday afternoon.

It’s designed as a tracking program for those with conditions like autism, Down syndrome, and Alzheimer’s, who are prone to wander. According to the Sheriff’s Office, drifting away is extremely dangerous among individuals with cognitive disorders, and happens even with the best security practices in place. 

Sheriff Todd Baxter says, “We’re very excited about pushing this forward with all our partners in the community, and making sure we’re ready to do our job, and that’s to recover the loved one that’s out there wandering and missing before something really bad happens.” 

Sgt. Providence Crowder describes it as a “Plan C” for those who enroll in the program. 

“So, we have the Sheriff’s Office, we have the resources, we have the regular law enforcement resources that we already have available, this is one more thing that families can have.”

The person who has a cognitive disorder wears a waterproof wrist band transmitter that emits a radio signal. If they go missing, the police then pick up the radio frequency and follow the beep. 

Sgt. Pete Zambudo with the Sheriff’s Office adds, “Once we find the signal, it’s just a matter of time before we find the individual.” About 30 minutes according to Zambud.

For Christine Sheffer who works with disabled youngsters at the Mary Cariola Children’s Center, the factor of time is tremendously important.  “Some of the young people we work with move very, very quickly. And not necessarily in a straight line.”

Rachel Rosner with AutismUp says some who drift away can do so out of some kind of fear and hide, seeking a safe space out plain sight…and be very hard to locate. She says, “Having this extra layer will allow everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.”

The cost for the Project Lifesaver start-up kit is around $330 dollars, but financial assistance is available for those who qualify. For more information, or to enroll, you can call (585)-753-4287, or email MCSOProjectLifesaver@monroecounty.gov 

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