DOVER, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detective John Granato on Sunday, June 14 quickly located an 82-year-old client of the Sheriff’s Office Project Lifesaver program who had wandered from his Dover home into a cemetery one-quarter mile away from his residence.
Detective Granato’s success on Sunday marks the second time in ten days that a Morris County Sheriff’s Officer quickly found an elderly Project Lifesaver client from the Dover area.
Detective Granato responded to Dover at 10:05 a.m. and arrived at the missing client’s home at 10:13 a.m. Just 21 minutes later – at 10:34 a.m. – the client was found, unhurt.
The client, who has dementia, was found in safe condition holding onto a perimeter fence inside a Dover cemetery. He had roamed from home in his pajamas with only socks on his feet.
Detective Granato, who was assisted by Dover Patrolman Anthony Kelly in finding the client with a Project Lifesaver tracking device, turned the man over to his nephew and daughter after urging them to have him examined by a physician as a precaution.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the client’s disappearance around 10:05 a.m., though family members believe he may have wandered away several hours earlier.
“It wasn’t cold out and the man wasn’t hurt. It was a good outcome,” Detective Granato said.
“I can’t emphasize it enough that Project Lifesaver is a godsend that delivers peace of mind to families and caretakers of clients. I thank Detective Granato for getting to the scene quickly, finding the gentleman and returning him safely to his family,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.
As a K-9 Section Detective, Detective Granato is among the Officers who would normally be dispatched to find a missing person. Although accompanied Sunday by Odie and Spike, two of the three dogs he handles, he did not deploy a dog but relied solely on the tracking device that honed in on the wrist transmitter the missing man was wearing as a Project Lifesaver client.
Detective Granato first went to the client’s home in Dover and received a faint signal from the tracking device. The signal grew stronger as he walked until, about a quarter-mile from the man’s home, Detective Granato spotted the client inside a cemetery clinging to a fence that prevented him from leaving the grounds.
“He knew his name and seemed in good spirits,” Detective Granato said.
Started nationally in 1999 in Chesapeake, Virginia, as a swift and reliable means of finding at-risk individuals, Project Lifesaver is free of charge and provides enhanced support and assistance to Morris County residents who are primary caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder, as well as families of children with Down syndrome, autism, traumatic brain injuries or cognitive impairments.
Nationally, 3,684 people have been found through Project Lifesaver programs.
All 136 adults and children who currently are enrolled in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Project Lifesaver program wear either a wrist or ankle bracelet that is equipped with a small transmitter and individual code that emits a signal that law enforcement Officers use to track the person if they go missing.
Morris County’s average speed rate at finding clients is better than the national average – approximately 13 minutes in Morris County versus about 30 minutes on average nationally. Founded on a principle of providing peace of mind to families and caregivers, the program operates nationwide, allowing families to vacation and still use the program to find a loved one if he or she wanders.
Morris County’s Project Lifesaver program receives some funding through an Area Plan Sub-Grant from the county of Morris’s Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans.
For more information on Morris County’s Project Lifesaver program, click here.
For more information on Warren County’s Project Lifesaver program, click here.
For more information on Sussex County’s Project Lifesaver program, click here.
For more information on Hunterdon County’s Project Lifesaver program, click here.