Project Lifesaver

Project Lifesaver is a rapid response program that aids in locating “at risk” individuals with cognitive disorders who are at constant risk to the life threatening behavior of wandering including those with of Alzheimer’s, Autism, Down Syndrome or Dementia, and returning them to their families or caregivers.

Project Lifesaver clients wear a watch type wrist band transmitter which emits a tracking signal. When a caregiver, parent or guardian reports that someone is missing and may have wandered away, a search team from the Sheriff’s Office trained in the use of specialized electronic search and rescue equipment to aid in locating those individuals in the area of last contact. While responding, the Sheriff’s Office has the ability to monitor the tracking signal from a specialized equipped Sheriff’s patrol vehicle. When arriving in the area of last contact, a hand held directional unit will be used for further search of areas not assessable by vehicle.

Program Lifesaver greatly increases the ability of the Sheriff’s Office to find someone who may be disoriented and has wandered and may be lost, and return them safely to their family or caregiver. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations.

Project Lifesaver is provided to Schenectady County residents as a result of a partnership established between the Sheriff’s Office, Schenectady County Office for Long Term Care and the Autism Action Network of Schenectady County. 

For more information on Project Lifesaver contact please submit and inquiry or call the Lt. David Leffinwell at  (518) 388-4596 x.5174

Schenectady Sheriff provides trackers for Wanderers


AAN applauds Project Lifesaver


The Autism Action Network applauds the efforts of the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department to implement Project Lifesaver within Schenectady County and their dedication to keeping individuals diagnosed with autism safe. Approximately 49% of individuals diagnosed with autism have attempted to elope from a safe environment and more than one third of children with ASD who wander or elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address or phone number.

Project Lifesaver will make available tracking devices for individuals who may wander. Autism Action Network also supports Senator Charles Schumer's initiative "Avonte's Law" that would provide funding for tracking devices for those diagnosed with autism. "Project Lifesaver is a valuable tool to ensure the safety of those afflicted with wandering tendencies within our community,” said John Gilmore, executive director of the Autism Action Network, “Project Lifesaver can do just that: save lives.”

Heather Walker, Schenectady County Adviocate of AAN





Office of the Sheriff
320 Veeder Ave.
Schenectady, NY 12307
Phone: (518) 388-4596 x.5147

David Leffingwell
     Community Resource Officer

Lt. Jason Temple

Information Request

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