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Wylie PD offering Take Me Home program

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Latest

A program targeted to all individuals with developmental or cognitive disabilities is assisting officers in responding to incidents with them.

Entering its fourth year, the Wylie Police Department’s Take Me Home program is available to residents of all ages, said Cpl. Greg Heckel, the program’s supervisor.

“This program is here to serve Wylie citizens who may have difficulty communicating due to a developmental or cognitive disability,” Heckel said. “Individuals that tend to be at risk for wandering may have a variety of disabilities including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia or Down Syndrome.”

The program is one way the department can assist with an individual who may have wandered away from home, said Heckel, adding that officers have access to photos, medical information and contact information for a family member.

“If an officer comes into contact with a family member or loved one while on patrol and this loved one is unable to communicate who they are or where they live, the officers have access to this program,” Heckel said. “The officer can get on their in-car computer and put in the physical descriptors of this individual. The officer then can hit search, and the program will pull up a photo lineup of all members meeting those descriptors: age range, height, weight, hair and eye color.”

There have been instances where the program has been used, he continued, and officers were able to use the program to pull up a photo and information before a call was received.

Additionally, the program can be useful when an individual subject to the call may be sensitive to sirens or bright lights or are frightened by the first responders themselves, Heckel said. To assist with the response, family members filling out a form are encouraged to include any helpful information a first responder might need to know.

“This is a crucial part of this program,” Heckel said. “Officers can have vital information prior to responding to a residence and can use this information to create a game plan to make this interaction as safe and comfortable for this loved one, their family, and the officers as possible.”

To sign up, residents should visit the Wylie Police Department website and click “Take Me Home” on the drop-down menu, which can be found on the “Community” tab. Individuals without internet access or who prefer to fill it out in a different format can contact the department or email [email protected]

For the full story, see the April 5 issue of The Wylie News.

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