KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police are training this week with a new tool they hope will save the lives of children or other people who wander away from home and can’t be found.
The tool is called Care Trak , and it consists of a watch-sized transmitter worn on the ankle or wrist that transmits a radio signal which can be picked up by a receiver using an antenna.
“This technology has been around 50 or 60 years,” explained KCPD Sgt. Brad Deichler. “Now, applying it for locating people they've just been doing in the last 8 or 10 years.”
Deichler said the technology will be most useful in locating children with autism who tend to wander, or elope, and senior citizens with dementia or otherwise reduced mental capacity.
“You will hear these kinds of calls coming out on the air daily, and ten years ago you never heard them,” Deichler said. “A lot of those calls involved people who had wandered off and could not be located when police officers got there.”
The department received $10,000 worth of Care Trak equipment through a donation from the Kansas City Police Foundation. KCPD will station six receivers and antennas around the city, one at each patrol station. Users will have to purchase their own transmitters and batteries at a cost of around $300 for the transmitter, and a few dollars per month for batteries.
Deichler swears by the technology, having used it himself for years. He describes his 10-year-old son Chase, who has autism, as an “extreme eloper.”
“I'm hoping that this project and this system will help those folks kind of solve some of the problems that it has for my wife and I,” he said.
Other area departments have experimented with similar technology, including Lee’s Summit and Raytown, but Kansas City will be the first to use the Care Trak system.
Deichler said the department hopes to have its personnel trained, and the receivers deployed and ready for use by Friday.