Take Me Home helps find lost people with disabilities in San Diego

82-year-old Ruth Bruce enjoys her lunch at Olive Garden

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department along with several other local organizations in San Diego have implemented an idea that should go national.  It is called “Take Me Home” and is a proactive photo based registration system for people with special needs, developmental disabilities or medical conditions that helps law enforcement and search and recovery teams to locate them when they go missing..

Last year when a 9-year-old autistic child wandered from his Encinitas home, the Sheriff’s deputies and air support both began searching for the child.

“Since the Sheriff Department had the critical personal information and photo of the child in our data base, the responding deputies were able to locate the child within 15 minutes of the call – safe and sound hiding in a vehicle down the street,” said Henry Tirado, a crime prevention specialist with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told the County News Center.

All a family has to do is register with Take Me Home is to submit information and a photograph to the organization based on the enrollee’s circumstances. 

The criteria to qualify is that the enrollee must have have an inability or a limited ability to communicate their personal needs or to relay where they are living.

The information is kept by the agencies and not released to the public and is only used if the person wanders from their home. 

Immediately the law enforcement and searchers have the crucial information, behavioral considerations, special care instructions, medical conditions, description and photo of the individual, they need to find the person quickly. 

You can register for this service by contacting the following organization based on the enrollee’s circumstances. 

ARC of San Diego, Alzheimer’s Assn. San Diego/Imperial Chapter, Area Board XIII State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Autism Society of San Diego,
Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego, Health & Human Services, Marine & Family Services Children North Coastal Consortium for Special Education, San Diego/Imperial Counties Development Services, Inc., St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, Stepping Stone Resources, and United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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