Pretty much everyone out there is aware of that fact that each person is unique. Some people are more than capable of handling life on their own. Then there are some people who need more constant help and guidance. This extra care can be needed for any number of reasons from a person having autism, to a person suffering from dementia.
People with these diseases, or others like them, need special care. These people need constant supervision to ensure their health and safety. This kind of care can be hard to find, especially if a person is not prepared to give it. If they wander off on their own, they can get into serious, life threatening, trouble. Luckily, there is a solution that seems to be working well.
When someone with special needs wanders off or goes missing, time is of the essence. If the missing person is not found quickly, then they can get into a situation that threatens their health and/or safety. No one wants them to get hurt, so people have to act fast. Unfortunately, typical law enforcement operations can take a lot of time to gain traction.
This delay is due to the fact that officers need to speak with family members and caretakers of the person to get information about the missing person. Then they have to return to the station to create a missing person flyer and give it out to all agents in the area. Once that is done, officers will finally be able to get to looking for the person. This wastes a lot of valuable time.
The city of Santa Clarita, California has created a solution to this problem that has been working well within the community for the past few years. The City, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s, Santa Clarita Autism Asperger’s Network, and local school districts all came together to create the Special Needs Registry.
Anyone with the following conditions can be registered on the list by family members:
• Bipolar Disorder.
• Down Syndrome.
The Registry is a free service where family members can register their loved one with relevant information about the special needs person. Some of the information the registry requires includes:
• Description of the person.
• The person’s contact information.
• Important medical information.
• Known places that the person likes to visit.
• Safety and behavioral concerns.
• Helpful tips for interacting with the person.
Once a person fills out this information on the Registry, they can rest a little easier. If the special needs person ever disappears, the police will have instant access to all of the information they need to help locate the missing person. This speeds up the recovery process and helps keep people in need out of trouble.
The registry can be accessed online, making it much easier for people to register their loved ones on it. The information held on the site can be accessed by officers in the field, and the site automatically creates a missing person flyer that can be posted on social media sites.
While the information is kept online, it is kept private. Access to the information is restricted to that of the person who uploaded the information, emergency service personnel, and the special education departments within the local school districts when applicable.
Since the program’s enhancing and rebuilding in 2015, which brought it into the modern age by making it an online service instead of a strictly paper one, it has seen a lot of success in locating and rescuing individuals with special needs within the city of Santa Clarita. People may have been slow in registering their loved ones, but once several incidents were resolved quickly thanks to the registry, the program quickly gained support.
With this new tool, the local sheriff’s department has had huge success in quickly locating and safely interacting with the city’s special needs population. Now the city is equipped to handle any scenario involving one of their special needs citizens.
What do you think of Santa Clarita’s Special Needs Registry? Is it a great way to keep people with special needs safe, or is registering them taking things too far? Do you think your city should have a similar system?