TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A Taylorville senior citizen has been reunited with his family after he went missing from the city earlier this month.
Taylorville Police officials credited the statewide LEADS system and Flock automated license plate readers with finding him. Without them, Taylorville Police said the man might never have been found.
They also credited one of their dispatchers and her actions during the situation.
Kayleigh Boston received a phone call from a family member who was supposed to meet the man for an appointment, but he went missing. He didn’t have a phone, making it difficult for anyone to contact him.
So Boston took it upon herself to help out. She turned to LEADS, then the Flock camera system.
“I was able to find the vehicle through their names, then I was able to enter that person in as missing into LEADS,” Boston said. “We did enter him in as missing, like endangered, just because he was having some memory problems, things like that.”
“I went to run his plate through Flock just to see if we can get a direction of travel, see where he went,” Boston added. “I saw when he had left in the morning, but literally minutes prior to me running him, we had gotten a hit of him going southbound in Morris, Illinois.”
Morris is two-and-a-half hours north of Taylorville in Grundy County. Boston immediately contacted Morris Police, which notified its officers in the area.
Taylorville Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler said Boston’s approach played an instrumental role.
“She did the right decision, was to get on Flock right away and get that plate number in there because we do know that there’s several agencies in the State of Illinois that are hooked up with us on Flock,” Wheeler said.
Boston continued tracking him, with ALPR sightings beginning to appear in the rural parts of Grundy County before moving into Livingston County. It took nearby agencies about three-and-a-half hours to finish their search, but Illinois State Police were able to find the man in Pontiac, a further 40 miles away from Morris. He is now safe at home in Taylorville.
“I was extremely excited and happy that we were able to find him that quicky and to get him back,” Boston said.
The Flock system was only implemented in Taylorville this year and Taylorville Police said that it’s already helping in a big way, as evidenced by this case. And more cameras are on the way.
“We have four more on the way,” Wheler said. “Two of them should be installed within the next six weeks and the other two will hopefully be installed a couple months after that.
The hope is that these additional units can help others in a similar situation.