Say what you will about technology, but it cannot be denied that digital innovations have greatly improved our ability to respond to problems quickly and effectively. High-tech machines make it possible to diagnose health problems in early stages. Software keeps an eye on confidential data to avoid cyber-attack. Communication systems allow all members of a company to stay in touch from miles (or even continents) away.

 Recently, a new form of technology has made its way into police stations across the country. Law enforcement is not unfamiliar with technology, but this one is breaking ground like no other. Take Me Home is a digital database that counties are adopting to better serve the community. It’s not a flashy device, and it’s purpose extends far beyond carrying out justice. Take Me Home is revolutionary and we’re thrilled to see the program growing so quickly.

What is Take Me Home?

Take Me Home is a centralized, online database that was designed for law enforcement. It was originally developed by the Pensacola Police Department but has quickly gained national attention. The platform was created in the hopes of better serving the most vulnerable members of the community. It was created for people who may need special assistance if they are alone or in times of emergency. This kind of assistance may be required if the person is unable to speak or properly identify themselves, or if they become disoriented or act in a manner that could be misinterpreted by first responders. The system includes a current digital picture, demographic information, and caregiver contacts. If a person in the Take Me Home system is encountered by a police officer, the officer can query the Take Me Home system, searching by name or by the person’s physical description. The database is secure and can only be accessed by law enforcement personnel with special permissions and clearance.

Take Me Home In Action

Let’s consider a real-life example of a case that could be solved by Take Me Home based on a true story from one of our team members. Your grandmother, let’s call her Dorothy, suffers from Alzheimer’s. She frequently wanders out of the house because she gets confused about where she is. One day, she wanders off without being noticed by the family. After several minutes, the police get a call. A home down the road has called them to report a strange woman acting odd on their front porch. When the officer arrives, Dorothy is holding the homeowner’s arm in a death grip, absolutely terrified because she doesn’t understand what’s happening or where she is. In her state, she is unable to communicate with the officer. Every minute that passes while trying to identify this woman is causing her more emotional distress. With no leads to go on, the officer is forced to bring Dorothy into the station, further increasing her anxiety. Once there, it could take hours to figure out who she is, who can come get her, and what the situation is.  By the time they call your family to come get grandma, she’s completely out of sorts and terrified.

Now, let’s discuss how this situation would be different with Take Me Home in place. Knowing that your grandmother has Alzheimer’s and is prone to wandering off, your family submits her information to the Take Me Home database. This includes physical descriptors, a photo, emergency contact information, and details about her condition. Grandma Dorothy wanders out without being noticed. She makes her way to the stranger’s porch and the police come to diffuse the situation. Once on scene, the officer realizes that Dorothy is not able to communicate with him properly, so he checks the Take Me Home listings in the area. With just a few clicks, he identifies Dorothy and is able to contact your family directly to come pick her up. A crisis that would take hours in the first example is now resolved in minutes. Dorothy gets home with minimal trauma, and your family doesn’t have to wonder where she is for hours.

Who Is Eligible For Take Me Home?

As the program continues to develop, the hope is to make it accessible for even more people. As of right now, the requirements for eligibility are as follows:

  • Any member of the community who has intellectual disabilities such as
    • Autism
    • Sensory Issues
    • Down Syndrome
    • Alzheimer’s
    • Dementia
    • Non-Verbal Tendencies
  • And anyone with severe mental health problems including
    • Schizophrenia
    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Manic Depression

People with any of these conditions are scientifically proven to be prone to wandering off, getting lost, and not being able to communicate their predicament in order to get help. In fact, according to various reports, it’s estimated that roughly 30% of children between 7 and 10 with Autism will wander, and a staggering 6 out of 10 adults with dementia. Take Me Home can help families feel better about their loved ones should wandering occur.

What’s Coming Next?

As more counties and districts adopt the Take Me Home program, small adjustments are being made. ImageSoft is thrilled to be working on systems that work with the platform to add new features. Our team is hard at work to create mobile capabilities that might encourage more people to use the program. We are also finalizing a map feature that extends across districts to allow officers to see enrolled members in a geographical area. This would help in cases of wandering across district lines so that all officers in the immediate areas have access to multi-district data.  We are working closely with law enforcement agencies to find more opportunities for growth and advancement within the program. Our goal is to spread the word about Take Me Home to encourage new agencies to adopt it, and more people to use it. It’s a truly life saving technology that is helping officers to provide for the community in the best way possible.

How Important Is The Take Me Home Program?

If Take Me Home were instituted in every state, millions of Americans would be in a better position to receive proper care in emergency situations. Over 6 million US citizens suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease alone. Most patients are elderly and can get severely injured if they wander off into dangerous situations. Wandering is not uncommon among Alzheimer’s or Dementia patients, with an estimated 1 in 6 going missing at some point during the condition. In addition, over 3.5 million Americans have Autism. While not all Autistic people are prone to wandering, it is very common in younger children, and parents say it’s one of their biggest fears. With those two conditions alone you’re looking at upwards of 9.5 million people benefiting from Take Me Home. Severe mental illness and intellectual disabilities are more prevalent than we think, so Take Me Home would be an incredible edition to each and every district in the country. Look around at the people you know and you’ll find someone with an eligible condition. It’s our mission to keep vulnerable people safe, and Take Me Home is the best first step you can take.

We’d like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to the Pensacola Police Department for pioneering such an incredible technology. Continue to put your community first and we will work on the sidelines to bring new features to your vision. Look on your local law enforcement agency website to see if Take Me Home is already in effect in your area. If not, stay tuned because we have a feeling this will be a law enforcement staple program. Learn more at https://nathana12.sg-host.com/takemehome/.