EVANSVILLE — Danny Koester’s ABK Alarm & Tracking — known for its capability to track offenders electronically every 10 seconds for court systems in the Tri-State and some other parts of the nation — soon will spread its wings fully in a new additional building that is nearing completion off Vogel Road and Weinbach Avenue.
The construction site sits across from Vogel Elementary School.
Founded 25 years ago by Koester, the company looks forward to gaining a total of 8,400 square feet of space in the new building, including 4,200 square feet on the main floor and 4,200 square feet in the basement.
It expects to be in the new building by next month.
ABK — a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week business — will continue operating as well from the company’s much smaller two-story quarters, located next to the construction site.
The complex, including the building under development and the its 10-year-old building, is a far cry in size and technological advances from its original small space, which Koester leased on Tippecanoe Drive.
Its new facilities are set up for handling multiple urine tests simultaneously for determining drug abuse, for example.
Another Evansville business, Hi-Tech Investigative, owned and operated by Mindy Middleton-Bittner off Lincoln Avenue and U.S. 41, also specializes in performing drug and alcohol tests on a wide variety of clients, ranging from offenders referred by probation officers, the courts or child and family protective services and workers in high-risk jobs whose personal safety is paramount.
In a recent Evansville Business Journal (EBJ) issue, Middleton-Bittner said on average, between 300 to 400 clients from Evansville and the Tri-State and across the nation visit Hi-tech each day, seven days a week, for testing.
ABK also is known for offering:
An answering service for physicians, heating and air conditioning businesses and other professionals.
A medical alert system.
A GPS, which uses a cellular communications network to report locations and violation status of, say, offenders on house arrest. It also is used in domestic violence cases when the offender becomes noncompliant.
A positive camera ID ignition interlock system used when a driver is required to take and pass a test that screens for deep-lung breath alcohol in mobile screening. Without a successful pass, the interlock device disables the ignition of the offender’s car, rendering the vehicle inoperable.
ABK also uses the ERAM (Electronic Remote Accountability Monitoring), a device which checks an offender’s eye pupils multiple times during a day or week, via computer monitors at the offender’s location and at ABK facilities.
The number of times a day or week that a court orders the tests varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, said Koester.
ABK has a patent on the ERAM, he said.
Koester is most proud of ABK’s medical alarm system, which he credits for having saved many lives over the years. The system allows victims of strokes, falls, heart attacks or other unfortunate incidents in their homes to notify ABK for assistance.
Koester decided to add the medical alert system after his mother (Margaret Koester, now deceased) fell seven different times with no one to get her help.”
“It has saved more lives than anything else we do,” Danny Koester said.
“I love my work. I love helping people.
“My alarms are protecting residents and businesses and it’s helping people to stay out of jail. … It gives people a second chance and helps their families.
“It’s very rewarding.”
When asked if he was getting rich, Koester said, “I do all right.
“My favorite saying is, ‘I’m just an old country boy, trying to make a living.'”
Koester was born and raised in Evansville.
He gained his technological knowledge through trial and error, he said.
Circuit Court Judge David Kiely described ABK as “very responsible and reliable.”
“It gives us judges some sentencing alternatives and supervision alternatives.
“It’s beneficial to the court system for giving us additional assets and resources.”
Superior Court Judge Wayne Trockman said “ABK has helped the whole criminal justice system in Vanderburgh County.
“I may use ABK more than average just because I operate the treatment courts and we like to monitor our participants very closely.
“Danny Koester has state-of-the-art equipment that allows one to do that.”
Trockman said Koester’s equipment can monitor an offender for alcohol abuse as many times per day as the court orders and the offender doesn’t even have to be at home.
Through the mobile monitoring system, Trockman said, the offender can be at work, at treatment or anywhere.
“Danny has brought the various equipment to the community and made it available at a reasonable price. It has made the community safer and it’s improved the quality of life of law-abiding citizens as well as those who are trying to get their lives back together.”