CPD starts Voluntary Special Needs Identification Program

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Police Department is working to break down the barriers between law enforcement and residents with special needs by creating a voluntary special needs identification program.

A CPD Officer learned of the need for the program after reading a social media post from a mother of a child who is autistic. 

The Special Needs ID program was created to help police officers, community members with special needs, and their families in the event of a situation which involves a police response.

 “The responding officer that encounters someone with special needs will see the ID card and in bold red letters it says special needs and the Diagnoses. It gives the officer a starting point in how to approach the individual. On the card it has instructions: to contact a family member, take them home, or to contact a crisis intervention officer if necessary,” says David Lewis, CPD Patrol Officer.

“Wondering off is an issue in the Autism Community and parents worry about a variety of different things. Of course when they do come across law enforcement they want it to go well. SO this is one more thing to allow law enforcement to take the best steps and best practice in treating them as someone who needs help,” says Dave Buck, Executive Director of The Chattanooga Autism Center. 

The Special Needs Identification Registry is open to all who reside, attend school, or are employed in Chattanooga.

Community members are invited to voluntarily participate by providing vital information regarding a registrant’s special needs, emergency contact information, and a current photograph in order to be issued an identification card. 

“Call our office, schedule an appointment to come in, make such we have someone in the ID unit that can take your picture, you need a Dr referral or a referral from somewhere like the autism center then just a little bit of paperwork and you are ready to go,” says Officer Lewis. 

The Registration is completely voluntary , confidential and free to those who wish to get an ID card.

For more information on how to sign up click here


Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News, Regional News

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