Project Lifesaver Comes to DeKalb County
Project Lifesaver comes to DeKalb County
By Jared Felkins
Published February 26, 2010
A new way to locate people with special needs who may become lost is now in DeKalb County and will soon be put into action.
State Sen. Lowell Barron met Monday with DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris, local mental health advocate Jerry Delk and several officers from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department to kick off special training for Project Lifesaver in DeKalb County.
Project Lifesaver will help find lost adults or children in DeKalb County, who may suffer from Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome or other related disorders. The program will be facilitated by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, which will provide those enrolled in the program with a transmitter worn around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal.
This program will allow specially trained officers and emergency response personnel to quickly locate an individual if they become lost.
Barron, along with Rep. Todd Greeson and Rep. Richard Lindsey, helped secure $15,000 to fund Project Lifesaver. Barron said he was excited about the positive impact the program would have on the citizens of DeKalb County.
“Project Lifesaver will be an asset for the people of this county,” Barron said. “When it comes to the safety of our loved ones, especially those with special needs, we must do everything in our power to help protect them. This program will bring safety to those in our community who might become confused or lost, and will help bring a greater peace of mind to those who tirelessly care for these individuals. I am honored to have been a part of bringing such an important program to DeKalb County.”
Harris said other law enforcement agencies in the area that have implemented this program have reported that the average time for recovery of a missing person enrolled in Project Lifesaver is about 30 minutes.
“These types of searches can involve multiple agencies, numbers of officers, countless man hours and thousands of dollars,” Harris said. “This program will not only dramatically cut down search times, saving the county and state a great deal of money, but more importantly, it will help protect and save lives in this county.
“We have applied for numerous grants for this program over the past two or three years and have been unable to find assistance from anyone. But thankfully Sen. Barron and Reps. Greeson and Lindsey did not hesitate to step up and help us fund this project.” Harris expects Project Lifesaver to be operational soon. He said the program would be fully activated after county officers are properly trained and all equipment is received.
Harris said Project Lifesaver has more than 1,000 participating agencies across the U.S., Canada and Australia, and has performed more than 1,900 searches in the last 10 years with a 100-percent success rate.
In surrounding counties, Project Lifesaver has reduced search times from hours and days to minutes. Nationally, recovery times for those who use Project Lifesaver is about 95 percent less time than standard search operations.
“Every minute a loved one is lost increases the risk of a tragic outcome,” Barron said.
Local mental health advocate Jerry Delk was invited as a guest to attend the first day of training for Project Lifesaver on Monday. Barron said Delk was instrumental in bringing Project Lifesaver to DeKalb County.
“Mrs. Delk has worked tirelessly on her own and with her elected officials and community leaders to bring Project Lifesaver to DeKalb County,” Barron said. “She is a champion for the rights of the mentally ill and her hard work and determination through the years should serve as inspiration to all.”
Delk, who also played a key role in establishing Project Lifesaver in Cherokee County, said she could not be more excited about the program coming to DeKalb County.
“This is just such an exciting day for DeKalb County,” Delk said. “I am honored to be invited to this training. This program was greatly needed in this county, and it will be a tremendous help to many.”