Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Services District 1 Helps Search for Missing 12-year-old Boy

Updated: May 24

Will County (Ill.) ARES, Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Assist

Public safety and ARES personnel attend the Unified Command Group's operations briefing before executing the day's Incident Action Plan. (Photo by Northwest Indiana Times Staff)


By Joseph P. Cirone

Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1


HAMMOND, Ind (May 22, 2021) – Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 (ARES D1) deployed Sunday, May 16 to help in the search for a missing, 12-year-old autistic boy last seen in Hammond less than 24 hours before.

12-year-old Kyrin Carter seen on video leaving the Best Western Hotel in Hammond barefoot. (Video image provided by Best Western Hotel)


Public safety officials requested support from ARES D1. The Unified Command was led by the Porter County Search and Rescue Team, Hammond Police, Fire and Emergency Management Agency personnel.


The Lake County Sheriff’s Department’s Mobile Command Center, Helicopter, personnel, and other specialized units assisted Hammond public safety personnel in the search.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Command Center supported the Unified Command Post, led by the Porter County Search and Rescue Team, Hammond Police, Fire and Emergency Management Agency personnel. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)


ARES D1’s District Emergency Coordinator, Joseph P. Cirone, activated by the Hammond Emergency Management Agency (EMA), accepted offers for mutual aid from the Will County ARES and Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), both based nearby in Illinois. The nine ARES D1, five Will County, and two SATERN volunteers, along with two Hammond EMA personnel quickly blended well together as one team and did the work that needed to be done professionally. Cirone served as the Incident Support Team's leader and Auxiliary Communications Group Supervisor.

Joe Cirone, ARES D1 District Emergency Coordinator, provides a mission brief to some of the 135 civilian volunteers at the staging area who came to help search. (Photo by Michelle L. Quinn/Chicago Post-Tribune)


Combined, the 18-person Hammond EMA/ARES D1 led Incident Support Team (IST) conducted liaison with the Unified Command; established personnel accountability for all public safety and ARES personnel at the scene; established a command-and-control radio net; coordinated search areas with the Unified Command’s Planning and Operations Sections; established and managed a Staging Area, and established 10 search teams, comprised of area residents and other civilian volunteers. Each team was led by an ARES member from ARES D1 or Will County.



Will County ARES member Brian Mc Daniel (r) and another Will County ARES member (l) operate as Net Control at the Unified Command Post, for the ARES D1 command and control net. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)


The ARES D1 IST joined some 20 agencies, including law enforcement, K9, Dive Team, and fire and rescue agencies from Lake County, the Porter County Search and Rescue Team and Indiana State Patrol in the search. Search Team personnel from Illinois also participated. The deployment provided an opportunity for ARES, SATERN and public safety personnel to blend quickly and work jointly in the effort to save a life.


Throughout the day, ARES personnel led a total of 135 civilian volunteers on searches for the missing youth. “It was a value and allowed First Responders to do their jobs and not worry about volunteers,” said Jerry Watts, ARES Emergency Coordinator for Will County. With the IST leading the civilian volunteer search teams, public safety personnel were free to focus on other search areas and investigative efforts related to the search. Tom Owen, an ARES D1 member stated, “The response did provide some comfort to the family, knowing people care has to be a big help to them.” Throughout the day, two IST search teams took turns recovering from the searches at the Staging Area, while the other teams were in the field.

ARES D1 member and Hammond Emergency Management Agency employee, Chris De Bie, juggled communications duties on three different radios. Initially serving as the Net Control at the Unified Command Post for the ARES D1 Command and Control net until additional ARES personnel arrived, allowing De Bie to focus more on his coordination and liaison duties. His efforts having ARES D1 lead the civilian volunteers, allowed public safety personnel to focus on other search areas and investigative efforts related to the search. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)


A SATERN member staffed the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Service Canteen and provided public safety and ARES personnel with hot food and cold beverages throughout the day. Area restaurants catered or dropped off food and drink for the civilian searchers, ARES and public safety personnel as well.


Jim Mumford, an ARES D1 volunteer, stated, “I was able to provide the leadership needed for those on my team, and ensured that their safety was of utmost importance, while keeping the main objective of the search in focus.” ARES D1’s Emergency Coordinator for LaPorte County, Allen Bottorff, said, “I conveyed some basic searching techniques to the civilian volunteers to assist their efforts.”

A Lake County Sheriff's Officer orders food and a beverage from SATERN member Matthew Bruce who staffed the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service Canteen at the Unified Command Post. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)


“I received many comments that what we were doing was a wonderful thing, and the fact that it was organized, structured, and tightly coupled with law enforcement agencies engaged more attention and seriousness to the overall search efforts.,” Mumford said.


Watts added, “All and all it went well. Treat all [incidents] like a large event and bring the big toys out. That is how we in Will County do it. We will set up antennas and radios to handle events and bring support vehicles out, like the Jeep we had on scene.”


Owen said, “I was pleased to be there to help with the effort to locate the missing child. I brought my wife with me and was pleased to demonstrate to her that amateur radio is more than just a bunch of toys.”


“Very fulfilling and rewarding; seeing the large turnout of people who wanted to assist, not just in the law enforcement agencies, but from all walks of life,” Mumford added.

"ARES D1 is an emergency/disaster/special event Incident Support Team. It is part of the Emergency Management community, but not an Emergency Management Agency."
"It is an organization that provides support and augmentation to public safety agencies, critical infrastructure including hospitals, and non-governmental organizations including the American Red Cross Disaster Services."

ARES D1 member, Phillip Bough (l) assists a Will County ARES member (r) assemble an antenna for use at the Unified Command Post. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)


ARES D1 is an emergency/disaster/special event Incident Support Team. It is part of the Emergency Management community, but not an Emergency Management Agency. It is an organization that provides support and augmentation to public safety agencies, critical infrastructure including hospitals, and non-governmental organizations including the American Red Cross Disaster Services. And it operates within the boundaries and the intent of both the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which sponsors ARES, nationwide, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS).


ARES D1 welcomes new volunteers, age 16 and up, with an interest in either Emergency Communications, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), Emergency Management or Search and Rescue Incident, Exercise or Special Event Planning or Operations support and the fellowship and sense of belonging that comes with it. For more information, visit www.aresd1.com or email: w1spy@arrl.net


ARES D1 members Phillip Bough (l) and LaPorte County Emergency Coordinator Allen Bottorff (r) take a break at the Unified Command Post between search area assignments. (Photo by Joseph P. Cirone)

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