Caring for a loved one who suffers from a debilitating disease is an extremely stressful situation. If that disease is one that makes the individual disoriented and prone to wander, such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, Downs Syndrome, or any other dementia related disorders, it elevates a stressful situation to potentially dangerous. In far too many instances, disoriented individuals are unable to find their way home.

The Trumbull Police Department recognizes the need for a service in our community that addresses this concern, and has joined other law enforcement agencies in the state in enrolling in the most successful program dedicated to this cause, Project Lifesaver.

Project Lifesaver International is an organization whose primary mission is to locate and rescue missing persons as quickly as possible. This is achieved by forming partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to deploy specially trained teams equipped with the most reliable and proven technology to locate missing persons quickly. How it works is relatively simple. Clients who are enrolled in the program wear a personalized wristband, which emits a tracking signal. When a caregiver notifies a Project Lifesaver Agency, like the Trumbull Police Department, that a person is missing, a specially trained search and rescue team from the Police Department responds to the search area with a mobile locater tracking system. The average time for a recovery is 30 minutes when utilizing the Project Lifesaver equipment. Our team has received training in not only search and rescue and in the use of the electronic tracking equipment, but also in the behaviors and best methods to use in dealing with those groups most likely to wander. Locating missing people is only part of the mission. Many people will be disoriented, anxious, and untrusting when initially found by the police. Learning the techniques on how to approach these people and gain their trust is vital in order to ensure a safe and successful mission.

Cost to both the agency and the enrolled client are relatively low, but financial assistance and fund-raising activities will be necessary to provide widespread access. Trumbull Police Sergeant Brian Falkenstein will serve as the Town of Trumbull’s local coordinator and our certified, trained instructors will provide training to other officers to increase the probability that our loved ones will be brought home safely. This is precisely the reason why the Trumbull Police Department has joined the Project Lifesaver team.

For more information regarding the program, visit the Trumbull Police Department for a Project Lifesaver application or contact Sergeant Brian Falkenstein via email at bfalkenstein@trumbull-ct.gov.