​​A lost individual with autism or Down syndrome or an adult who becomes lost due to dementia constitutes a critical emergency and presents challenges to police in search and rescue operations. While it's not possible to predict when a person will become lost, it is possible to prepare.

The Virginia Beach Police Department in partnership with Project Lifesaver has launched a planned response to all missing persons at-risk and others with special needs that may become lost. VBPD has teams of trained officers and special tracking equipment to help locate missing persons who are enrolled in Project Lifesaver. Our department is the first major city police department in the country to take on this effort and currently manages the largest program of this kind in the world.

How Does It Work?

Project Lifesaver uses a personalized transmitter, powered by a small battery, that emits a constant radio signal 24 hours a day. Once the police are advised that a person is missing, officers identify the signal using a specialized directional antenna and are able to track the missing person. 

This equipment is used on foot, in cars and also by air providing maximum cover and capability for search efforts for several miles using the tracking equipment. This is a very successful program. 

Nationwide, Project Lifesaver has responded to over 3,000 rescues and all were 100% successful with a recovery time averaging less than 30 minutes.

What Does It Cost?

There is no cost to enroll in the program and all program operation costs are covered by donations! The only cost a client’s family or caregiver may incur is for lost or damaged equipment.

Who To Contact:

VBPD Project Lifesaver coordinator: MPO Cheryl Stoudt (757) 266-3055, cstoudt@vbgov.com.

Or, visit the National Project Lifesaver website.

For More Information

  • Alzheimer's Disease contact: Southeast Alzheimer's Association, office: (757) 459-2405
  • Autism Disorders contact: Autism Society of America, Tidewater Chapter: (757) 461-4474