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Blue Springs Police unveil program to protect special needs community

Posted: 4:16 PM, Mar 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-23 17:24:02-04
Blue Springs Police

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A child wandering off or running away from home can be a parent's worst fear.

In that situation, every moment matters, which is why the Blue Springs Police has unveiled a new program aimed at helping children and adults with special needs get back home safely.

The Take Me Home program originated in Florida and was partnership with the Autism Society.

Parent Jacqueline Gutridge said the program will be a life-saver for her and her family, which includes her son Daniel , who has moderate to severe autism. Since he was 4, Daniel has wandered off too many times to count.

"The first emotion is, 'I got to find him,'" she said. "The second is, 'Oh my gosh, I don't even know what he has on.'"

Daniel is now 28-years-old and Gutridge said he's wandering off more often. She said he feels it's a game and does whatever he can to get away.

Gutridge partnered with the Blue Springs Police Department to get the Take Me Home program underway. The program allows people to submit photos of their loved one along with information and emergency contacts.

"It kind of cuts out that middle period of chaos where you have to calm the family down enough to get a picture of their loved one and then text or email to officers who are working the street," Blue Springs Police Det. Kate Tipton said. "It just takes that out and has it readily available to us."

On average, police said they get a couple of calls per month. They're hopeful the program will help families like the Gutridges.

To sign up for the Take Me Home program, click here.