Sussex Sheriff’s Office joining Project Lifesaver

Sussex County, VA, June 23, 2016 –—Sussex Sheriff Office announced today that they are bringing the Project Lifesaver program to Sussex County. Designed to track and rescue those with cognitive conditions who tend to wander, this service answers a critical need for protecting people at risk of wandering, including those with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome and dementia.

Project Lifesaver International, the leading organization in electronic search and rescue (SAR) programs, will conduct mandatory training and provide certification, ongoing management and support to 6 officers. Their training includes teaching public safety officials how to use the equipment and how to gain the trust of and communicate with people who wander, as well as to ensure that caregivers are well versed in the program – all of which are essential to a successful rescue.

Clients enrolled in the service will wear a wrist-watch sized radio transmitter on their wrist or ankle. The transmitter constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person has wandered—even into a densely wooded area, a marsh, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel. When a loved one goes missing, caregivers notify locally trained agencies and they are dispatched to the wanderer’s area and the average rescue time remains around 30 minutes.

“We are excited about joining Project Lifesaver,” said Lt. Valarie Patterson-Ricks. “Project Lifesaver not only saves time, money, resources, but most of all, Project Lifesaver saves lives and we are proud to offer it to the citizens in Sussex County.”

Project Lifesaver develops public outreach programs to educate others about the issue of wandering, and they constantly work toward developing public policy and effective law enforcement response to help save lives and “bring loved ones home.”

This service will be available on July 1, 2016. Families and caregivers can enroll their loved ones by contacting Lt. Valarie Patterson-Ricks or Invest. John Ogburn at Sussex Sheriff Office at 434-246-5361. For those families or caregivers who cannot afford the service, they are encouraged to check with their local agency for available options, or call Project Lifesaver for grant opportunities.

For more information about the project, please contact Project Lifesaver at 1-877-580-LIFE (5433) or

Project Lifesaver International was established in 1999, Project Lifesaver International (PLI) is a non-profit organization that is committed to helping families quickly find their loved ones who wander because of Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, dementia, and autism. Headquartered in Chesapeake, Va., Project Lifesaver works with local law enforcement agencies in more than 1,400 communities in 48 states, the District of Columbia and six provinces in Canada to protect some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. PLI provides training and support to all agencies and continues to work with organizations on education and awareness regarding the issue of wandering. Visit

Equipment associated with Project Lifesaver, which is being offered by the SCSO.

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