News Details

NJ First In Nation to Have Statewide Coverage for Rescue Program

(Woodbury, NJ)  New Jersey is now the first state in the nation to offer Project Lifesaver, a rescue program that provides enhanced support and assistance to residents who are primary caregivers for a child suffering from autism, children afflicted with Down syndrome, or individuals suffering from Alzheimer's disease, or a related dementia disorder.   Sheriffs from around New Jersey were joined at the announcement of the statewide Project Lifesaver project today by NJ Speaker Joseph Roberts, NJ Sheriffs Association President Morris County Sheriff Ed Rochford, and incoming President of the National Sheriffs Association Sheriff Craig Webre of LaFourche Parish, Louisiana.

With Gloucester Countys Sheriff Carmel Morina implementing the program in his office, now participants in Project Lifesaver can wear a special wrist bracelet equipped with a small transmitter which emits a signal that a Sheriff's Officer can track when someone goes missing. Search times have been reduced from days and hours, to minutes. Average recovery times are well under 30 minutes.

I am proud to have been able to implement this program in Gloucester County, said Sheriff Carmel Morina, who took office this past January.  When I was elected Sheriff,  I received the support of our Freeholders and the New Jersey Sheriffs Association to make sure that Gloucester County participated in this important rescue network.  By having statewide coverage a family in Gloucester County can vacation in Atlantic City, Cape May or anywhere else in New Jersey and not worry about their loved one wandering away. The Sheriffs Offices in any county can now communicate and pass on the information if the system is activated, Morina Said.

Gloucester County is at the forefront of emergency communications and educating children with Autism and other special needs, it is only a natural progression that we participate in Project Lifesaver, said Freeholder Helene M. Reed, liaison to the Department of Health & Senior Services and to the Department of Emergency Response. 

NJ 21 Strong With Project Lifesaver Program

May 24, 2007

Project Lifesaver is a reliable, rapid response partnership with law enforcement aiding victims and families suffering from Alzheimers disease and related disorders such as autism and Down syndrome. It is the worlds most reliable program for locating missing persons, providing safety through a proven rapid response system with the most practical, affordable and successful resolution for bringing loved ones home, and giving peace of mind to the caregiver.  In approximately 1,500 searches to date there have been no reported serious injuries or deaths. Recovery times average less than 30 minutes.

"Project Lifesaver is endorsed by the National Sheriffs' Association and we are proud that the Sheriff's Association of New Jersey is the leader in the United States in helping autistic children and adults, and persons with Alzheimer's Disease," stated Morris County Sheriff Ed Rochford, President of the NJ Sheriffs Association.  This day has been made possible by the hard work and commitment of all the Sheriffs in New Jersey, and today, Sheriff Carmel Morina and Gloucester County are the 21st and final New Jersey Sheriffs Office to offer Project Lifesaver.

Freeholder Deputy Director Robert Damminger who served as Master of Ceremonies at todays news conference thanked the New Jersey Sheriffs Association and the National Sheriffs Association for recognizing the importance of the Project Lifesaver program.

We are very fortunate to have a law enforcement community who wants to learn and to recognize the behavioral symptoms of residents who live with Autism, Down syndrome and Alzheimers, said Damminger. 

We are equally fortunate to have Speaker Roberts and our own Freeholder Director and State Senator Steve Sweeney as advocates for children and families who face the challenges of these diseases.  My family, as does Steves and thousands of others across this state know the every day struggles of learning about and caring for a loved one with Autism, Downs and Alzheimers  any resources that are available are a God send  that is why Speaker Roberts legislation and Project Lifesaver are so important, Damminger concluded.

More information on Project Lifesaver International can be found at