An Accredited Florida Law Enforcement Agency

Project Lifesaver

Yulee, Fla. – Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper is pleased to announce the implementation of a new program called Project Lifesaver, which is being funded through a grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Project Lifesaver is a search and rescue, rapid recovery program that targets persons enrolled in the program that have the tendency to wander due to Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia and other age macular degeneration related conditions or disorders.

Project Lifesaver deploys radio technology to locate, rescue and return to home missing persons enrolled in the program.
Each client enrolled in the Project Lifesaver Program wears a personalized wristband transmitter that emits a tracking radio signal 24 hours a day / seven days a week. Each wristband has a separate and unique radio frequency.

“This technology provides an extra measure of safety for those individuals who may wander, while still giving them the independence to participate in activities in the community,” said Sheriff Leeper.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has several members that have been trained and certified as instructors and operators of the search and rescue radio equipment in the event a client wanders and the Sheriff’s Office is alerted.  Training was provided by Paul Balance, instructor for the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.

In addition to members attending the training for equipment and instructor certification, they also received training in the methods necessary to communicate with a person inflicted with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or a related disorder.  Wanderer’s, when confronted, often will be disoriented, anxious and untrusting. The trained members of the Sheriff’s Office have been instructed on the most appropriate manner to approach the found wanderer, how to gain their trust and how to put them at ease for their return trip back home.
The Sheriff’s Office has two Project Lifesaver receivers that have the capability of being used by hand during a foot search as well as from a patrol vehicle mounted antenna in the event a vehicle search of a wider area is required.

The highest priority is to make a quick and safe recovery of an enrolled wanderer in the shortest time possible. In addition, this program can reduce the time and cost of a traditional search from hours to minutes. Nationally, the average recovery of clients enrolled in this program is about 30 minutes.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications from interested caregivers or families of loved ones that they may want to enroll into this program. The cost for an individual to purchase a wristband apparatus from Project Lifesaver is approximately $300 for the kit.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with several local organizations that may benefit from the program. Participating organizations are Nassau County Council on Aging, Dayspring Village, ARK of Nassau, Osprey Village, Savannah Grand of Amelia Island, Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, Nassau County Public Schools, and Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce.

If you would like to learn more about this program or donate to assist indigent individuals, please contact Lt. Ricky Rowell with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office by email at