West Deptford police create program to improve interactions with people with special needs
A police department in Gloucester County is hoping to improve their interactions with people who have special needs and disabilities.
The program involves a sticker that is placed on the back windshield of the individual’s vehicle. It is a collaboration between the West Deptford Police Department and the township’s disabilities committee. The sticker has the police department’s logo and would be an identifier before an interaction occurs.
“If we’re responding for a call for service or emergency, if one of my offers sees this [sticker] it will put him on alert that there’s definitely some special needs or other accommodations or be on alert for certain things,” says Chief Sean McKenna.
There is a similar card for those individuals who don’t drive or those who are hearing or speech impaired.
Officers say that it is a good idea for West Deptford residents to pick up one of the stickers and place it on the front door or front windows of their homes to alert officers that a person with special needs lives there should officers ever should come by for an emergency.
"Obviously we want to have continual training for situations like this where we can de-escalate these situations and have a better understanding on how to handle these situations,” McKenna says.
The program is voluntary for residents in West Deptford and National Park. The stickers and cards can be picked up from the police station.