Alabama Reaches 100 Percent Participation in Project Lifesave
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) today, March 31, welcomed Sheriffs’ Offices and other law enforcement partners from across the state to celebrate the fact that Alabama has reached 100 percent participation in Project Lifesaver International.
The program is designed to quickly locate lost individuals who may have Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, autism or other cognitive conditions that lead to wandering. Fitting clients with special bracelets that transmit a “chirp” enables specially trained State Troopers and other law enforcement officers to use handheld antennas to locate lost individuals of all ages.*
Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler said, “Project LifeSaver is a vital program. Our Aviation Unit has worked tirelessly to reach this milestone and to ensure Project Lifesaver is available in all 67 counties in Alabama.”
Cpl. Kent Smith of ALEA’s Aviation Unit is the statewide coordinator for Project Lifesaver and said, “We are honored to serve citizens of Alabama through this worthwhile project. We have saved lives.”
During the 10 a.m. event today, March 31, at the Alabama Power facility in Clanton, Secretary Stabler, members of ALEA’s Command staff and Aviation Unit welcomed Sheriffs and other representatives from each county, along with members of families whose loved ones now are Project Lifesaver clients.
Dana Cottingham of McCalla and her family also were there. Mrs. Cottingham and her husband, Ken Cottingham, lost their youngest son, Holden, just after his third birthday in 2013. Diagnosed with autism when he was 2, Holden slipped out of the house (even opened the dead bolt), made his way to the swimming pool and wasn’t found until it was too late. The Cottinghams now are using their tragedy to warn other parents and save lives.
“You just never know. The first time they wander could be deadly,” she said. “That’s why Project Lifesaver is so important.”
The Tafts of Birmingham also attended the event, during which Dana Taft shared about her 16-year-old daughter’s experience. Morgan Taft has Down syndrome and was fitted with a bracelet a few years ago. At the event, Morgan told the crowd gathered her bracelet “keeps me safe.”
In addition, the event included Project Lifesaver Founder Gene Saunders, as well as a Q&A period for concerns and praises from participating law enforcement agencies and an update on Project Lifesaver goals and advances.