Chief Gene Saunders: Making Impact in The World by Protecting Individuals with Cognitive Disorders


The desire for the welfare of the people and society produced a way for the foundation of Project Lifesaver International, which, today, has grown to over 1,600 agencies in 50 states and 9 provinces in Canada with over 3,500 successful rescues under the guidance of Gene Saunders. A passionate social entrepreneur, Gene Saunders, the Founder & CEO of Project Lifesaver International, is keen on making vital contributions towards the welfare of the society that would create a difference in the lives of the people.

For loved ones with cognitive disorders who could wander away, Project Lifesaver International offers an effective solution. Founded in 1999 by former police officer Gene Saunders, the non-profit works with local public safety agencies to provide technology a watch-like device worn on the wrist or ankle of a patient that contains a radio tracking device so the individual can be found quickly by law enforcement.

Delivering valuable impact on society

Gene Saunders outstanding skills and specialties include but are not limited to: Search and Rescue, Training, Interrogation, Public Speaking, Firearms, Driving, Special Operations, Investigations, Non-Profits, Crime Prevention, Preparedness, Command, Electronic Search and Rescue, Intelligence, Program Management, Expert Witness, Community Policing, Team Building, Supervisory Skills, First Responder, SWAT, Leadership, Crisis Management, Surveillance, Emergency Services, Private Investigations, Project Planning, Homeland Security, Disaster Response, Criminal Justice, Patrol, Security Operations and Personal Protection.

Everyone on his team is motivated by the mission they have of providing protection and peace of mind to those needing it. He is on mission to continue to improve their equipment, training and services, while bringing more member agencies into the program.

You need to maintain vision, planning and team awareness so any such issues can be addressed early and overcome.

– Chief Gene Saunders

Project Lifesaver – Company’s Future Perspectives

Project Lifesaver International is a community-based, non-profit public safety organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue and other first responders with a comprehensive education, training, and technology-based program. The Project Lifesaver program protects, and when necessary, provides public safety agencies with the search and rescue tools they need to safely recover individuals with cognitive disorders who have wandered off from a safe environment including those with Alzheimer’s disease and Autism. It enables public safety member agencies to identify, equipment and quickly locate those with cognitive disorders who may wander and become lost.

The Project Lifesaver program began in 1999 when it became apparent to Gene Saunders that there was a major void that needed to be filled in providing search, rescue and protection for “At Risk” individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behaviour of wandering. For the past 20 years, Gene’s clear and singular focus has been on providing one of society’s most vulnerable groups and their caregivers the support, protection, and peace of mind they need while delivering the tools and training to public safety agencies that are responding to individuals with cognitive disorders who tend to wander.

A Key Components

There are three major components utilized by the Project Lifesaver program which enable first responders to achieve the program’s mission of “bringing loved ones home.”

Advance Technology: Project Lifesaver is in a constant state of research and development to ensure the latest and most effective technologies are being utilized by the program both in the prevention of wandering and the recovery of a client in the event of elopement.

SAR Methods: Project Lifesaver has strategically designed methods and techniques for the specific use of recovering individuals with a cognitive condition. When applied by first responders these innovative strategies enable the most efficient rescue of an eloped client.

Policing Courses: Project Lifesaver provides first responders with a basic understanding of cognitive conditions, giving them the necessary tools needed to respond to an elopement, and to assess and effectively manage the safe and comfortable return of an eloped client.


– Chief Gene Saunders

A Dynamic Results-driven Leader

Being a CEO of Project Lifesaver International Gene Saunders has Interacting with advocacy groups and agencies to familiarize them with the program and the issues surrounding searching for those with cognitive disorders.

Because of his extensive experience in special needs search and rescue, Gene Saunders has provided valuable insight and information in the development of policy and practices for search, rescue, and safe recovery of at-risk wanders. Gene has helped in the development of materials and training programs to provide the necessary education of doctors, caregivers, school administrators, first responders/search personnel, and of course, the families of special needs individuals. In fact, Project Lifesaver is a subject matter expert and advisor on the wandering issue for: Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s disease (LEAD), National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Alzheimer’s Foundation, and the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and the International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Project Lifesaver also provides training programs that help public safety officers better understand the symptoms and behaviour of the individuals that they are recovering. These training programs give first responders the tools to assess and effectively manage the safe and comfortable return of the “at-risk” individuals they encounter.

As a non-profit, they are not concerned with making great profits. Their biggest concern is maintaining the equipment and services to our members. So far, they have done that by prior planning and identifying those areas they feel will have the most impact. Chief Saunders attributes his success to his perseverance, education, resourcefulness and patience. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. For the future, Chief Saunders will continue his mission of “Bringing Loved Ones Home”.

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