Manchester, Lakehurst Police launch new program to help special needs community
In an effort to more effectively respond to calls that may involve someone with a developmental disability with the needed communication methods, Manchester Police and Lakehurst Police have come together to introduce a new program "Operation Insight", which is a voluntary special needs information database.
This new program is a voluntary special needs database comprised of pictures and personal information that can help police know more about an individual before responding to a call.
"Residents in both Lakehurst and Manchester can go to their respective departments websites and fill out a form that includes all kinds of information -- emergency contact information, information on the individual with special needs including a photograph that would help officers respond," Manchester Police Detective Richard Conklin tells Townsquare Media News. "That information is gathered by the agencies and uploaded to our police computers for responding officers to be able to get that information in real time if they're responding to a call for service."
When an officer is responding to this specific type of call, the information about the individual from photo to address and knowing any emotional triggers, whether someone is non-verbal or has any sensory issues would pop up on the screen in their police vehicle and they could then study it so they know how to best address the situation.
"Any call for service, whether it's a high priority call or a low priority call, we would have that information available to know if we need to adjust our response such as lights and sirens or no lights and sirens, if there's any other special needs to take into consideration so we can better handle whatever the call for service is at that address," Conklin said.
Police having updated and clear pictures of the individual with special needs as well as their height, weight, hobbies, friends and so forth will also help and could prove vital in a missing persons case as well.
"The photograph alone will help greatly to give officers a visual of that person," Conklin said. "Any detailed information that is submitted to us, whether it's a place that they like to go, people they like to be around -- that would help greatly in any sort of missing persons (case)."
If you or someone in your family or a friend has a relative, child with a special need, developmental disability and/or autism, there's a couple ways you can inform someone to submit photos and other information to police in this program.
You can go to the Manchester Police website, for Manchester residents, and you'll be able to fill out the form there, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go to the Lakehurst Police website, for Lakehurst residents, and be able to learn more about the program as well as find the form to fill out and email any information to email@example.com.
"You can provide as much or as little information as you want, again, it's all voluntary and all the information is kept confidential within the agency," Conklin said. "They (you) submit that to us and then we keep that on file, generate a name record and address record."
This program, "Operation Insight", will be a pretty important database in a great number of situations.
"It's just so useful for the officers going to any call to know that if someone has any sort of special needs, whether it's Autism or any other developmental disability," Conklin said. "All officers are trained on how to recognize characteristics of persons with special needs but to have that information before you get there, would help greatly."