KCPD’s investment in technology could help save lives of those who go astray

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A $10,000 donation from the Police Foundation of Kansas City to the Kansas City Police Department may soon help save the lives of loved children with autism, or seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia who are prone to wandering.

The donation allowed the KCPD to purchase the Care Trak technology. The device uses radio waves and a tracking device that looks just like a watch and can be worn on an ankle or wrist. Police say with the technology, finding a child or loved one who's gone missing should be quick and simple.

Brad Deichler calls his 11-year old son Chase, who has autism, an eloper.

"He gets outside and he's unattended he's going to run away. And he's extremely fast, covers a lot of ground in a hurry," he explained.

Chase's ability to escape in the outdoors has been the cause of many sleepless nights and stress on the family. Deichler laughed as he pointed to his greying hair as proof.

"Just like any parent that turns around and their kid is missing in the grocery store, except it happens all the time. So just extreme stress, fear, anxiety," he said.

Deichler says he's in touch with thousands of parents in the metro who can relate. Now, thanks to KCPD's new Care Trak technology, those precious moments when a loved one's lost may feel less hopeless.

"At least now, as long as the person has on a Care Trak bracelet, we do have, within a mile, have a way of tracking them and hopefully bringing them back quickly before it's too late," said Captain Darren Ivey, crisis intervention team leader.

KCPD was able to buy six devices, one for each police station, thanks to the grant from the police foundation.

"This is fabulous because instead of many, many officers taking their time to search aimlessly, because you don't know which direction they're going, now you have one officer with a tracking device who can help deploy," said Cy Ritter, the foundation's president.

Care Trak says it has a 100 percent rescue rate, something Deichler can attest to. He bought his own home device four years ago and says its brought Chase home at least 12 times.

"My son covered 2.5 miles in under 15 minutes and if you're going 2.5 miles in the wrong direction, you might as well go 20," Deichler said.

To track the person lost they must be wearing the tracking device which costs $300. Police hope to find donations for those who may not be able to afford it. Training for the officers using Care Trak starts August 14th.