The Sachse Police Department has been offering a program to assist community members in need of special assistance for around five years through the Take Me Home Program.
Offered free of charge to residents, the program provides a platform to let local law enforcement agencies know about any potential breakdowns that could occur in an interaction between officers and individuals with mental or physical disabilities, said Assistant Chief Steven Baxter.
“This assistance can be a citizen that might have difficulty in communicating with others, a chance that the individual could become disoriented or lost, or might need special assistance if alone,” Baxter said. “This collaboration with our citizens allows first responders to quickly identify these unique situations and either return them safely to their residence or provide the proper assistance to the citizens.”
In the database, which is maintained by voluntary submission of data by community members, a current digital photo, demographic information and caregiver contact information is entered to assist first responders.
Baxter said the Sachse Police Department provides an online portal and a downloadable form to enroll in the program to assist residents with signing up. In the event of technical difficulties, the department can help with the form or photo.
“We provide an online way to enroll in the program as well as a downloadable form that can be mailed into the department,” Baxter said. “The department will gladly assist those individuals that might have trouble or the lack of technology in capturing the photo or obtaining the form.”
Additionally, information submitted can be updated, such as a change in physical address or appearance of an individual in the database.
Once in the online form, residents can fill out information about their loved one, such as the ability to approach, any potential triggers and the diagnosis. Some of the requested information also includes information about how officers could handle a potential confrontation with an individual or how officers can avoid triggering a reaction.
The form also includes a disclosure of a potential fear of firefighters, police or EMS personnel, which can be a factor in the field.
In action, information provided can be accessed by Sachse Police Department personnel in vehicles or at the main station inside the Public Safety Building. The database provides information and can be searched by name or physical description.
While the department maintains a database in Sachse, one of the program’s limitations is that data is not immediately available to other law enforcement agencies. Baxter said his department always collaborates with neighboring cities’ police departments if an individual may come from another jurisdiction.
Data entered is only available to public safety personnel, and the system is maintained by the Sachse Police Department. Enrollment is also completely voluntary.
To learn more about the program or enroll, visit cityofsachse.com/530/Take-Me-Home-Program.
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