CORVALLIS, Ore. (KMTR) -- A new effort from Corvallis Police may make it easier to reunite families and caregivers with lost loved ones who have special needs.
Corvallis Police (CPD) has just launched the Take Me Home program for its department. The program is a locally-stored database that autism advocates thought up in Florida back in 2003. Advocates wondered if there was anything police could do to help get kids who don’t speak or have other cognitive issues back home with their parents or caregivers.
CPD may be the first department in Oregon to use it. The program works by parents providing information and a picture of their loved one, or care recipient, to police.
The data is then put in a local server that is only accessible by Corvallis Police.
If a person signed up in the program ever runs away or gets in an incident where police respond, officers in the field can look the person up on the Take Me Home database and figure out who they are. Each CPD car is now equipped with the program on in-car laptops.
Police say its ideas for Alzheimer’s patients, children with autism and other special needs patients.
"A program like this gets that person back to the caregiver much faster, reduces the stress on both the caregiver and the individual, as well as the police officer, who's coping with trying to deal with it,” says Lieutenant Jon Keefer of the Corvallis Police Department.
Take Me Home is free for parents to sign up and free for Corvallis Police to use. While the program was originally designed for a police department in Pensacola, Florida, Take Me Home is now distributed to other departments free of charge.
If you’re in the Corvallis area and want to sign up, just contact CPD volunteer John Smith at 541 766-6924. Parents can sign up at the Corvallis Police Department; however, CPD is also working with local special needs advocacy groups to do sign-up events where officers go out to group meetings to sign people up.
For more info on the program’s inception, click the following link: http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/how-we-can-help/safe-and-sound/take-me-home.html