New Hanover County

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Homeland Security Alert














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Sgt. J. J. Brewer













Sergeant J.S. Pope

910-798-4227 Main

910-798-4230 Fax


Click here for the

Project Lifesaver Form

A 79 year-old man with Alzheimer's left his house driving his truck and could not find his way back home.  An 80 year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease wandered away from her home at night.  A 45 year-old man suffering from a traumatic brain injury becomes lost and disoriented.  These are all true stories concerning individuals who have wandered away from caregivers.  Traditionally the search for these individuals would include up to 264 searchers and 924 man-hours.  All at the taxpayers expense.

The current numbers show that 79% of patients will wander and be located within 1 to 11/4 miles from home.  These numbers include such illnesses as traumatic brain injury, Autism, and Alzheimer's which is one of the leading brain disorders in the country.  It is estimated that there are currently 5 million people in the United States diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  This number will double in the next ten years.  Finally, an estimated 14-16 million people will be diagnosed by the year 2050.

To help the citizens of New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and the Pilot Club of Wilmington have entered into a partnership to bring Project Lifesaver to this area.  Project Lifesaver is a system involving radio transmitters and receivers.  The transmitter is the size of an average wristwatch.  This device is placed on high-risk Alzheimer's patients, and others with brain disorders, which may be prone to wandering.  This transmitter gives a constant unique signal, which can be detected with a radio receiver.  Aircraft can be outfitted with the receiver to increase the range of detection.  If a patient wearing this transmitter wanders, the time needed to locate may be minutes as opposed to hours or days.  Local pilots have volunteered to help in the event this equipment is needed.


For more information about this program please contact

Dep. D. Desso