77-year-old missing Alzheimer’s patient reunited with family thanks to ALEA, Project Lifesaver

State / Regional

Release from ALEA

BIRMINGHAM Ala. – At about 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Aviation Unit received a request to assist the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue mission. The Sheriff’s Office was in the process of searching for a Center Point man. Ronald Watkins, 77, went missing from his home earlier in the day, which initiated the response by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Fortunately, Watkins was wearing a Project Lifesaver bracelet, which was utilized by the ALEA Aviation Unit to gather a quality signal and identify his exact location. He was found near the intersection of Lake Drive and Huffman Road. Once located, Watkins was transported to a local hospital for medical screening and observation.

Project Lifesaver is a program designed to rapidly locate lost individuals who may have cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome or autism. Individuals with these special bracelets transmit a “chirp” to enable specially trained ALEA Troopers and other law enforcement officers to use handheld antennae to locate lost individuals of all ages.

Thankfully, this was another example of how Project Lifesaver’s technology and partnerships between ALEA and local law enforcement agencies, such as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, prove working together saves lives.

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