T.R.A.K.ing Down Missing Heartland Kids

When a child is missing, time is of the essence.  Now, there may be a way to cut down on the response time by local police departments.  Cutting edge technology is coming to Heartland police departments that can cut days and hours down to minutes and seconds and that can mean the difference between life and death when a child is missing.

You've probably seen those missing child posters.  They're one of the first steps police take to track down a child who's disappeared.  The posters are mailed out to other police departments and posted in public places, but that could be days after the child disappears.  And at that point they could be long gone.

But new computer technology could change that.  AT&T Vice-President, Kathleen Earley, "T.R.A.K. is significant because it gives every community around the country the ability to talk to each other in the case of missing children and missing people.  T.R.A.K. is essential to be able to get information and pictures about people and situations in real time up on the internet and to be able to get pictures faxed to every police locale around the country."  T.R.A.K. stands for Technology to Recover Abducted Kids.  Here's how it works, when a child or adult is reported missing, his or her picture is immediately scanned into the computer system.   The investigating agency then sends that color picture along with a description and details of the case with an alarm out to surrounding  T.R.A.K. systems, and any other place with a fax machine.  It's fast and those first hours are crucial when it comes to tracking down a missing person.

The system is already up and running on the West coast.  According to Lt. Steve Lowe with the Daly City Police Department, it's working.  "T.R.A.K. has already, in the month and a half that it's been here in Daly City, made us more effective at what we do.  If we could multiply that by the 17,600 law enforcement agencies in the country, I'd say we made a very bad day for criminals."

Heartland police officers are now being introduced to the T.R.A.K. system and they're finding out how they can get the set-up--FREE.   Hewlett Packard is donating the 65-hundred dollar computer systems to the Illinois State Police, Missouri Highway Patrol, Paducah, Carbondale and Cape Girardeau police departments.   And AT&T will provide the dedicated phone lines.  It'll cost the departments only a few cents every time they put out an alert.  After the first two years--the departments will have to pay a small annual fee to have the system in their office.   We'll even have a T.R.A.K. computer system at KFVS-12.   So, we'll be notified immediately if a child or adult disappears in the Heartland and we can get that information out to you A.S.A.P.

Our own Dave Courvoisier has been instrumental in bringing the T.R.A.K. system to the Heartland.  He helped implement T.R.A.K. in Nevada a few years ago.  According to Dave, "T.R.A.K. is big out West, and now it's spreading across the country.   As a member of their board of directors, I can tell you we're excited to see it gain a foothold here in the Heartland before it even gets to some of the bigger cities nearby.  You'll be seeing lots more about this."  If you'd like to know more about the T.R.A.K. system take a look at the website-- www.trak.org . As the system gets installed and is up and running here in the Heartland we'll bring you more on how it's working.