Port St. Lucie Police Department honored by the Florida Police Chiefs Association for their partnership with Project Lifesaver International

This partnership aids in protecting citizens at high-risk of becoming lost, including those with Alzheimer’s or autism


(Port Saint Lucie, Florida – June 28, 2019) Earlier this week, during a private luncheon at the Florida Police Chiefs Association’s 67th Annual Summer Conference, the Port St. Lucie Police Department (PSLPD) and Project Lifesaver International (PLI) were honored with the Operation Cooperation Public/ Private Partnership Award.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA), has established an awards program to recognize law enforcement professionals from Florida Municipal, College/University, School Board/District, Tribal or Airport agencies who have distinguished themselves in service to their agencies, communities and/or fellow members. The Operation Cooperation Public/ Private Partnership Award recognizes a police department and a private sector partner that has mutually worked together to solve a police-related problem, or enhanced a police-related service, or impacted positively on enhancing police services to the public.

Together, PSLPD and PLI have established a local program which serves and protects the special needs communities of Port St Lucie, Florida. Since the program’s implementation in 2017, PSLPD has enrolled 42 individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering. With ongoing outreach and communication efforts with the local special needs communities, enrollment in the program continues growing.

The program utilizes proven radio technology in coordination with specially trained search and rescue teams. Individuals enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local authorities who will dispatch a certified emergency response team to the client’s last known location and activate a search with specialized equipment that can triangulate the position of the client’s frequency, allowing the team to quickly locate the client and return them home safely.

In comparison to a search utilizing standard operations, which can take hours, possibly days, Project Lifesaver has reduced search times drastically – achieving an average recovery time of only 30 minutes, which is 95% less time than standard operations.

“It is truly humbling to receive this recognition,” exclaimed Chief Gene Saunders, Founder and CEO of PLI. “It has been an honor to work with Chief Bolduc and his incredible staff to institute a program that protects and serves the special needs citizens of our hometown.”

In recent decades, the population of Port St. Lucie, Florida has experienced rapid growth. At the same time, individuals being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and autism have also dramatically increased. These special needs individuals residing within the city limits have increased the prevalence of wandering incidents and requiring a need for increased security, tools, and protocols to maintain the safety of these vulnerable individuals.

Through their partnership with Project Lifesaver, the City of Port Saint Lucie has gained more than just a locating program for their community and special needs families, they have created a means of providing peace of mind to these families that their loved ones, knowing they are protected and in the event of an emergency, they will be located and returned home safely.

During the last Fiscal Year 2017/2018, PSLPD responded to 717 calls for service relating to what the agency classifies as Missing Persons/Runaways. While it cannot be quantified as to what number of individuals can be attributed to those with diagnosed medical conditions, experts estimate that sixty percent of those with Alzheimer’s and nearly half of those with autism will partake in the life-threatening behavior of wandering, also known as elopement. This behavior poses a large threat to the safety of these individuals, especially if not located and returned home in a timely manner.

For more information about this program, or to enroll your loved one who may benefit from the services, please contact Sgt. Charlie Lumpkin at 772-807-4436.


About Project Lifesaver International

Project Lifesaver is a 501 (C) (3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides emergency responders and caregivers with the equipment and training required to protect and, when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive conditions that cause the propensity to wander, such as those with Alzheimer’s or autism. Through the use of state of the art radio frequency technology, innovative search and rescue techniques, and accredited first response training, Project Lifesaver member agencies have, to date, successfully located nearly 3,600 special needs individuals during an episode of elopement; the average recovery times for these rescues are less than 30 minutes, which is 95% less time than standard operations. For more information about Project Lifesaver, please visit www.projectlifsaver.org.


About the Florida Police Chiefs Association

The Florida Police Chiefs Association is the third largest state police chiefs association in the nation and is composed of more than 900 of the state’s top law enforcement executives. The FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university and tribal police, private businesses and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies. The FPCA has members representing every region of the state. Membership in the FPCA supports and maintains the highest standards of public safety and police protection for the millions of people who live, work and play in the State of Florida. For more information about the FPCA, please visit www.fpca.com.