Care Trak

Care Trak


Care Trak

Care Trak is a telemetry tracking system used to track high-risk people with Alzheimer’s disease and special needs children, primarily with Autism and Downs’ Syndrome.

Since 1986, hundreds of Sheriff’s, Police, Fire Departments and Search and Rescue teams have used the Care Trak system to quickly locate at risk individuals. In over 2,000 rescues, trained emergency responders recovered lost individuals in an average time of less than 30 minutes. Without Care Trak the average search time is over 8 hours.

This simple, reliable, and effective system is now available in Van Buren County from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. The Care Trak system, purchased by the Sheriff’s office, is recognized as the oldest, most respected name in the Telemetry based people locating system worldwide.

How it works:

A high risk person wears a small transmitter similar in size to a wristwatch. The transmitter is attached with a removal resistant band that can be placed either on 

the wrist or ankle. Each transmitter has its own frequency which is recorded with other important information in a confidential client profile. To ensure a high degree of reliability, the transmitter should be tested twice per day by the caregiver. A tester is supplied with each transmitter. If the person wanders away from the caregiver, a call should be made to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office immediately. Trained officers will respond to the last known location with the client profile and tracking equipment to begin the search. Searches can be done on foot, by vehicle, or from aircraft depending on the circumstances.

Why should you consider the Care Trak system for your family member?

  • 10% of the population 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease. 59% will wander at some point during the progression of the condition.

  • 50% of the population 85 years old and over has Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 32,000 Alzheimer’s patients wander away from home or long term care facilities each year.

  • 75% of care is provided by friends and family.

  • A person with Alzheimer’s disease can live for 20 years from the onset of the disease.

  • Can you watch someone 24 hours per day, seven days a week, for as much as twenty years?

  • If a wandered person is not found within 24 hours, the survival rate drops to 47%. In Michigan with our cold winter weather, the time to safely find a wander drops to minutes. Many high risk persons are not able to tell the difference from night and day, hot or cold weather, and may leave their care facility at any time of the day or night not properly dressed.

  • Autism occurs in 1 of every 150 births and the condition is on the rise. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability. Down Syndrome occurs in 1 of every 800 births. Autistic, Down’s, and other special needs children do not always wander, they tend to “bolt and run”. Since they have no fear of real dangers, they are often killed by accident.


The cost for the transmitter is $260.00; a monthly fee of $20.00 is collected to provide a new transmitter battery and wrist band. A representative from the Sheriff’s Office will come to the client’s residence each month and change the battery and reinstall the unit on the client. Total cost for the first year of service is $500.00. Subsequent years would be $240.00.

How do I make the purchase?

If you would like to purchase the system, please call our office at 269-657-2006 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tell the operator you are interested in Care Trak and they will take your name and phone number.  Someone will call you and set up an appointment when everything can be explained
and demonstrated.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What if the transmitter gets wet?

The unit can be safely used in water, for showers, baths even swimming to a depth of 15 feet.

   What about warranty?

The unit is covered for a period of seven years. The warranty does not cover misuse, abuse, loss or batteries.

   Is the equipment used to track “typical” kids or adults?

No. We specialize in tracking only at-risk individuals.

   How does the caregiver know the transmitter is working?

The transmitter emits a silent radio signal 24/7. Each caregiver is given a transmitter tester and is required to “test” the transmitter twice a day and log the results. The procedure is simple and requires only seconds.

   What if the transmitter stops working?

Call the Sheriff’s Office immediately and a new transmitter will be brought to your location as soon as possible.

   Why not GPS?

GPS is great for tracking cars, bad for tracking people. GPS depends on orbiting satellites to locate a person. GPS may not be able to locate in buildings, in bad weather, or in heavy under brush or trees. Clients are not aware they are lost and will not seek open areas which GPS systems require. Sometimes, low tech is better than high tech.

   How far can the signal be tracked?

Typically, from the ground, the signal can be detected 1 mile away, but some conditions may allow the signal to be tracked more or less than a mile. If a signal is not detected at the last know location, a grid search from a vehicle is instituted.

   When should I call if my loved one is missing?

Spend no more than five minutes searching. Time is very important in finding a missing person. If you find them before we arrive that is wonderful.

   Who should I call if my loved one is missing?

Dial 911 and tell the dispatcher you are a Care Trak customer. Give them the name of the client and the last known location. Dispatch will contact our trained officers and send them to that location.

   Will I be charged a fee if you come and search for my loved one?

No, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will not charge any fees for responding to a lost person incident.

   How far from home will you respond if we are traveling?

While the unit will transmit from anywhere in the world, we cannot respond farther than the adjoining counties. If you are going on vacation or to Florida for the winter, call us and we can get you in touch with an agency in the area you are going to and get a transmitter for that area.

   My neighbor has Care Trak as well, how will you know which
   transmitter you are tracking?

Each transmitter has a unique frequency setting; no two will have the same setting in this part of the country. The frequency is recorded in the client profile and is set in the search receiver when we need to locate the transmitter.


If you have any questions

Contact Van Buren County Sheriff Office Reserve Captain

Rodney Bridgeforth via email: