SHERIFF JUAN HERNANDEZ TO MAKE MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

SHERIFF JUAN HERNANDEZ TO MAKE MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

Doña Ana County Sheriff Juan Hernandez will make a major announcement at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, 2002, at the Sheriff’s Department headquarters at 750 Motel Blvd., Suite A.

Hernandez will announce a $10,000 private donation to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department, which will be used to expand an initiative to outfit tracking bracelets on Alzheimer’s patients.

Arthur Valdez, Jr., on behalf of the John Salopek Foundation, will present an over-sized replica of the check to Hernandez during the Aug. 1 event.

Hernandez initiated Project Lifesavers with grant money. He said he will use the Salopek Foundation funds -- and other private donations -- to purchase additional bracelets and mobile locators.

Hernandez said the application of the tracking technology will allow his deputies to find wandering Alzheimer’s patients much faster. Searches that used to take two or three days can now be successfully completed in less than an hour with the aid of the tracking equipment.

The need for search and rescue operations, which are extremely costly in both financial and human resources, will be significantly reduced by the application of the tracking technology, Hernandez said. Between 1999 and November 2001, the bracelets helped locate 162 missing persons in Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Ohio – with an average recovery time of about 30 minutes, Hernandez said.

Candidates for the tracking bracelets are patients with dementia-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, who are prone to wandering. Other candidates may be persons with Down’s syndrome, autism, developmental disabilities, brain injuries or other conditions that make them susceptible to wandering.

For more information, call Grant Taylor, assistant to the county’s Public Information Director, at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.