Updates from Morris County: Get the latest on COVID-19

Posted Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

A 91-year-old Hanover Township man who suffers from dementia was found safe in the township’s Central Park last week thanks to the Morris County Sheriff’s Project Lifesaver Program.

Sheriff’s Project Lifesaver Program Helps Locate Missing 91 Year-Old Hanover ManThe man’s wife activated the system when she reported him missing at 4:28 a.m. on Sept. 28.  He was last seen at about 10:30 p.m the previous night. Upon his arrival at the family’s home, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Eric Hanna received an audible alert from the Project Lifesaver PLI 3000 tracker.

He informed Hanover Police officers of the direction of the alert, which indicated the man was somewhere south of the South Jefferson Road and Eden Lane intersection. Less than five minutes from receiving the signal, Hanover police located the man in Central Park on Eden Lane, more than a half mile from his residence.

He was found lying on the ground unharmed but wearing minimal clothing. The Cedar Knolls First Aid Squad responded to the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office Project Lifesaver Program is free to Morris County residents and is used to help locate missing persons with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome, autism or traumatic brain injuries. These persons are at risk of wandering away from home and not being able to communicate who they are or where they live to persons who find them.

Participants — whether adult or juvenile — are equipped with bracelets with a transmitter attached.  The waterproof transmitter is about the size of a watch and emits radio frequencies unique to that person. A special tracker is used to pick up that specific frequency to find the missing person.

photo: Sheriff’s Officer Travis Somerville trains on the Project Lifesaver PLI 3000 tracker

Sheriff’s Officer Travis Somerville trains on the Project Lifesaver PLI 3000 tracker

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office average recovery time is 13 minutes.

“This is an outstanding program that reassures families and caregivers that all possible resources will be utilized in the effort to locate and return their loved one home safely,” said Sheriff James M. Gannon.

This is the second time in 2017 that Project Lifesaver helped locate a missing person.  In June, a 66-year-old Kinnelon man with  dementia was located using the tracker and found walking a quarter of a mile away from his home.

Project Lifesaver is a national program that began in 1999.  The Morris County Sheriff’s Office started its program for adults in 2003 and added children in 2005.  Since then, it has become the second largest program in the state with 124 clients.  The program’s officers are certified and trained on the equipment and attend Autism and Alzheimer’s training.  Project Lifesaver is available in every county in New Jersey.

For an application or more information, visit www.sheriff.morriscountynj.gov or call Sheriff’s Operational Services at 973-285-6618.