New tracking system will help police find St. Charles County residents who wander off

ST. CHARLES COUNTY  • A new system will help deputies locate residents with special needs who wander off.

The sheriff’s department recently bought the Care Trak system, which tracks lost individuals with Alzheimer's disease or developmental disabilities. The system can detect an individual wearing a transmitter from one mile away on the ground and five miles from the air.

The transmitters, which can be worn on the wrist or ankle, are waterproof and are programmed with a unique frequency for each individual. The frequency is programmed into the tracking system to help pinpoint an individual’s location.

Starting Monday, families and caregivers who want to participate in the program can contact the Department of Community Health and the Environment at 636-949-7400 to request an application. A one-time fee of $250 submitted with the application covers the cost of the program, transmitter and battery check device. New batteries cost $5.50 every two months or $33 annually.

To qualify for the program, an individual must be a resident of St. Charles County, have a medical diagnosis that has or may cause wandering, a 24-hour caregiver and no access to a vehicle if able to drive.

If a participant wanders away in the St. Louis area, his or her caregiver can dial 911 and notify the dispatcher that they live in St. Charles County and that their loved one has a Care Trak transmitter. The dispatcher will then get in touch with the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department paid $5,000 for the Care Trak system, which is the first in the St. Louis area on the Missouri side. 

For more information about the program and application process, call Shelly Reynolds in the Department of Community Health and the Environment at 636- 949-7400 or email mreynolds@sccmo.org. For more information about the Care Trak system, email Deputy Steve Case at scase@sccmo.org, or visit http://www.caretrak.com/.

Life Tracker
May 30, 2013
RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer (rprusi@miningjournal.netThe Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Marquette resident Jan Peck gladly offers her perspective on the LifeTracker program.

"It gives you a sense of comfort," Peck said. "Should my mom wander, we have a resource that can help find her."

Peck's mother, Claire, has Alzheimer's disease. For nearly seven years, Claire has worn a LifeTracker device, which emits a radio signal. Should she wander away from her home, Claire will be much easier to find than if she did not have LifeTracker, which resembles a large watch.

Article Photos

Marquette County Sheriff Mike Lovelace holds the device used by authorities to locate someone wearing a LifeTracker device. LifeTracker has been used in Marquette County since 2007. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)


"For nine years, we've been dealing with Alzheimer's," Peck said. "Mom still lives in her home and we have a team of caregivers for her, including me. She's reached the point where she might wander, but she can't unlock the doors by herself any longer. But you never know and having LifeTracker is another precaution for her safety."

Yvonne Clark coordinates volunteers for the LifeTracker program, which is conducted in a partnership between the local chapters of the Retired and Senior Volunteers Program and the Alzheimer's Association. LifeTracker devices are not only used for seniors with Alzheimer's, but for people with autism or those who have experienced head trauma.

"First, our volunteer will go out to put the device on the client and they'll take the person's history," Clark said. "The history is important because it might help us know where they would head if they do wander."

The history is put on file with the Marquette County Sheriff's Office, which coordinates LifeTracker searches.

After the initial consultation, these volunteers visit LifeTracker clients once a month as part of the program.

"The volunteers visit to put a new strap on the device and to put a new battery in," Clark said. "The caregiver tests the device once a day. That's important because if the device is not working, it does no good."

Clark said the caregivers of those wearing LifeTracker devices are advised to alert authorities immediately should the person go missing.

"That's important to help get things started as soon as possible," she said.

The tracking is done with the radio-wave signal emitted by the device. The range for the signal is about a half mile in heavily wooded areas, but much farther in other areas, up to 3 miles or more.

"Sheriff (Mike) Lovelace deserves a lot of credit for this program coming to Marquette County," Clark said. "He came to RSVP looking for someone to help get it started."

Lovelace said a recent successful tracking was a reminder of how valuable the program is.

"We had a recent save," Lovelace said. "There was an autistic child in Ishpeming Township who was reported missing. We located him about five minutes after we got to the location where he had last been seen.

"LifeTracker provides peace of mind for people," he said. "We know if they have the device on them we can find follow through quickly."

LifeTracker utilizes proven technology.

"The equipment is the same as what wildlife researchers have used for close to 40 years," he said. "The radio-wave technology is better than satellite in our area because with the thick woods in most of the U.P., satellite reception would not occur.

"It's simple," he said. "And it's very effective."

Clark said LifeTracker was established locally through fundraising efforts. She said the Forsyth Township Senior Center was a major factor in the fundraising drive, along with a number of other community organizations.

"LifeTracker is a self-sufficient program. We ask (new clients) for an initial $50 donation, then $20 a month to cover battery costs, but no one is ever refused for lack of funds," she said.

Clark said donations for LifeTracker can be made through the local RSVP office.

"This is a fabulous program," she said. "I am very proud of each of the volunteers in LifeTracker. This is an invaluable program to the community."

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.


Cops Give Telemetry Tracking New Life

Care Track Emergency Response Team

Care Track Emergency Response Team


Driver_SeniorPeople with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer's, or other similar conditions may wander from their homes and not be able to find their way back. These individuals are often unable to communicate their name or address to emergency responders. A special transmitter the size of a wrist watch that the special needs person can wear on their wrist or ankle may be purchased from the village. Schaumburg police personnel are trained with the Care Track equipment and can track the radio signal to quickly and safely return the person to their loved ones.


Schaumburg families with special needs family members who would like more information about the program are requested to contact Sgt. John Nebl at 847.348.7276.

Peoria IL Tracking Program

Care Trak Current Save
EM Finders Ceases Operations
Unfortunately another at-risk people tracking company is ceasing operations.  I say unfortunately because any wander protection device for kids with Autism and seniors with Alzheimer’s disease is better than nothing at all.
EM Finders has suspended operations as of July 20, 2012.  We don’t know why they stopped their program.
Since 1986 Care Trak has been providing tracking systems to law enforcement agencies and individuals to literally track at risk people.  Since that time hundreds of agencies use Care Trak with thousands of rescues. 
Care Trak also provides Home Systems for parents with special needs kids.  These Home Systems alarm when your child leaves any designated area, like the yard.  With the home version of our tracking unit parents can immediately track their own at risk kids. We believe the best rescue is the one that never happens. Hundreds of parents rely on Care Trak to monitor their kids.
Our Home Systems operate independently of the law enforcement systems for parents who need protection if their local police do not have the Care Trak equipment, but our Home equipment is also 100% compatible with the police systems.
Anyone who was on the EM Finders program can call Care Trak for home protection systems. Care Trak Home Systems are not available to the general public, only for special needs.
Michael Chylewski VP
Care Trak International, Inc.
Alzheimerís and Guns Donít Mix!
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease and they own guns it could be a big problem for several reasons. Alzheimer disease destroys short-term memory and most times leaves long-term memory intact.  So if your love one was in a war, like WWII, Korea, Vietnam or any conflict they may see anyone wearing any uniform as the “Enemy.” This is a problem if you need to call a law enforcement agency, fire department and even if a delivery person like UPS or FED EX drops off a package.  Your loved one may not recognize the person as “Friendly” but rather an “Enemy.”
Even a family member can be shot because the stricken person thinks he/she is an intruder.  The best remedy is to remove all the guns from your home so your loved one doesn’t accidentally kill or wound someone, especially yourself.
If law enforcement arrives at your home for any reason and your stricken loved one raises a gun to them your loved one will be shot by police. It doesn’t matter if the gun is loaded or not, even if you tell police the gun is not loaded, they will shoot. One cannot point a gun at an officer and expect the officer not to shoot them first.
We have heard in the past something like “My dad always keeps a gun by the back door, he will notice if it is gone and be real agitated.”  OK, ask dad “Where did you put it,” or “Don’t you remember dad you sold it,” or “Dad it is in the gun shop, something was wrong with the chamber.”  The worst-case scenario take it to a gun shop and have the firing pin taken out.
That being said, if police need to be called to your residence for any reason BE SURE your loved one does not, under any circumstances, have a gun in hand.
Mike Chylewski VP
National Trainer
Care Trak International, Inc.
Chicago Land Area
We would like to invite everyone who is going to be in the Chicago Land area, to visit us at the AutismOne Conference.

Tracking Systems are Only as Good as the Caregiver
Over the years many tracking devices for at risk kids primarily with Autism and Alzheimer’s wanderers have entered the marketplace.  All of these devices have their advantages and disadvantages.
Current tracking systems offer telemetry, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and cell phone based technology.  Each of these systems requires the person at risk to wear a tracking device.  All of these systems require some sort of battery power to operate and that is where problems can occur.  A dead battery in a tracking unit renders the device useless. Many of these systems require the caregiver to test the system on a daily basis to insure the unit is working.
Even your cell phone battery, if left alone and never used, will run down. Telemetry tracking devices will last one to two months before the battery needs changing.  GPS and cell phone systems need to be recharged once or more every week.
In most with these systems the weakest link is the caregiver.  Many times the caregiver simply forgets to check the tracking device, will put off the testing or check the operation on an infrequent basis. We live in a society that depends way too much on technology. 
Electronics can fail from time to time and in the majority of the cases it is because the battery that operates the tracking unit is dead. Unfortunately the wrong time to discover your tracking device is dead is when an emergency occurs.
I have always believed in dealing with the “Real not the Ideal.”  Parents with special needs kids have a lot on their plate besides watching their kids.  Elderly caregivers sometimes are confused by the technology. Testing of the transmitting device must become a habit.  It takes and average person 21 days to form a new habit.  The testing of the tracking unit must become a habit to insure the safety of your loved ones if you are using a tracking device.
Mike Chylewski VP Care Trak International, Inc.
Care Trak in action; Congrats Fastrack!
On Sunday evening, March 11, 2012, a non verbal 9 year old resident who has autism, and is a Fastrack Program participant, went missing.
His parents were incredibly fearful and panicked.
They called 911 and an intense search for the missing child began.
As you know, we have tracking devices that enable staff to search, track and find, missing Fastrack Program participants.
On- duty personnel who have been trained to use the search equipment, and off-duty members of the search team who were paged in, worked in such an efficient and professional manner, the boy was returned safely and unharmed after the team tracked him into the City of Bolingbrook, quite a distance from his home.
The child was reunited with his family in less than an hour after the tracking equipment was utilized.
This was a perfect team response.  This situation could have had a horrific ending, or have gone on for hours and days, at quite a cost to the City.
Having the equipment and trained staff to provide this extra level of critical response to those citizens who are most vulnerable – non-verbal children with special needs and the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – speaks volumes about the integrity of such a great police department.
I commend and thank every member of the police department who was involved in this search.
A great save from Temple PD (Texas)
Sgt. Brad Hunt;  Good news from Temple, TX PD.   We forgot to send you our latest success story, from October of last year., October 18, 2011; Operation Fast Track Works, Allows Police to Find Missing Child in 30 Minutes.  Last night, at about 9:50 pm, Temple Police were dispatched to a residence on West Royal Avenue, to a reported missing child.  The child is a Fast Track client, who has a medical condition that produces wandering tendencies.  The child had a bracelet on, and Officers were able to use the tracking equipment to successfully locate the child, who was found hiding in a detached guest house near North 15th Street and West Jackson Avenue (roughly 10 blocks from the child’s home).  The child was found at 10:20 pm. This half-hour search would surely have lasted all through the somewhat chilly night, and possibly would still be ongoing if not for this equipment.  For review, Operation Fast Track relies on proven, but simple radio technology and a specially trained search and rescue team of Temple Police Officers.  Clients who are enrolled in Operation Fast Track wear a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal.  When caregivers notify the police that a person is missing, our officers respond to the wanderer's area and begin searching using this tracking system.  For complete details on this system, and how the community provides continuing support of this valuable program, please visit the Temple PD website at:  http://www.templetx.gov/index.aspx?nid=921, or visit the Temple PD facebook page at:   http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php
Important safety note for law enforcement agencies:
Agencies should be sure to test each client transmitter on the tracking receiver before placing it on a client. This is to insure that the receiver can actually pick-up the radio signal emitting from the client transmitter.  The transmitter tester cannot be used for this purpose because transmitter testers simply detect a radio signal but not a specific frequency.
With a number of companies producing transmitters at different frequencies it is important there is no confusion on which frequency first responders must use when attempting to locate a lost person.
For example a 216 tracking receiver cannot locate a 215 transmitter or vice versa.  For more information contact Care Trak International at 800-842-4537 or caretrack@caretrak.com.
Invisible Perimeter System Testimonial

My son escaped the house on Sunday, and we were able to successfully use the tracker to locate him. We searched for about 20 minutes and kept getting a signal about half a block from our home. He had broken into an FBI agent's house, stripped all his clothes off and was sitting on the people's couch eating Cheerios. They weren't at home when this happened. But the tracker worked out well. I was excited because it's the first time we really had to put it into play since we normally find him on foot in about 10 minutes, but we hadn't located him after about 20 minutes so we grabbed the tracker and started the process.
Thank You,
Kids with Autism
Agencies need to be keenly aware that kids with Autism are attracted to water.  It is important to know where all water sources are located in the community.  Many times these kids will head for the water source.  Always check swimming pools.

Peoria IL Tracking Program posted in Trackers
New tracking system will help police find St. Charles County residents who wander off posted in Trackers
Life Tracker posted in Trackers
Kids with Autism posted in Trackers
Invisible Perimeter System Testimonial posted in Trackers
Important safety note for law enforcement agencies: posted in Trackers
EM Finders Ceases Operations posted in Trackers
Cops Give Telemetry Tracking New Life posted in Trackers
Chicago Land Area posted in Trackers
Care Trak in action; Congrats Fastrack! posted in Trackers