Saskatoon Police Service has a new tool to better help officers responding to calls involving vulnerable persons.
The pilot project will allow critical information to be entered into a vulnerable person registry, which then could be used during situations where police are involved.
“With this registry if we have a name we can access information on what they like, what they don’t like, their name and address. All that information is right there in our hands,” said Cst. Dennis Hudec.
He adds, the registry will also help officers pass out pertinent information and photographs to media if needed.
“Often times when we have missing people, the biggest problem we have is getting a picture of the person out to the media. This is going to cut down on that time drastically,” explained Hudec.
The registry was developed in partnership with Autism Services Saskatoon.
“This registry will help provide families with greater peace of mind, knowing there is one more thing they can do to support their vulnerable loved one,” said Lynn Latta, the executive director with Autism Services Saskatoon.
“The registry will assist officers with tools such as emergency information and special needs,” Saskatoon police Chief Clive Weighill said.
“That important information will give us a head start if a vulnerable person goes missing or we must attend to their address.”
Constable Dennis Hudec and and wife Danita have a young daughter with autism and helped develop the registry.
“Some don’t like the sight of police officers, it could scare them. But having this information and knowing what they like to talk about, whether it’s space, trains or animals will help. Engaging them in a conversation to diffuse a potentially violent situation could be life saving. having this information available immediately as officers are responding to the call is critical,” said Danita Hudec.
The pilot project will at first be limited to persons with autism spectrum disorder.
Depending on the success of the project, it will be expanded to include persons with Alzheimer’s disease or mental conditions which pose a risk.
Registration with the vulnerable person registry can be made online at the Saskatoon Police Service website after the official launch of the pilot project on Oct. 20.
Jacqueline Wilson contributed to this story