Moore police said they are working to get ahead of a consequential misunderstanding. The department launched a program to improve response to calls involving residents with special needs.
Moore Police Lt. Kyle Johnson told News 9 people with special needs are seven times more likely to have an interaction with law enforcement.
This new program aims to make officers aware of a person needs before arriving on scene.
“The natural response for a law enforcement officer when someone takes off running you catch them, right? Well, someone with autism that may not be the appropriate response,” Johnson said.
Residents are encouraged to register their loved one with special needs into the Special Needs Alert & Identification database.
“As a parent, if you have a child with autism knowing that they may have law enforcement interaction is something you may be anxious about anyways. It gives us essential information that we can give to the responding officer before they ever arrive on scene,” Johnson said.
The application asks what upsets the individual, what their needs are, and how they communicate.
“Somebody with autism might be hypersensitive to sounds, or uniform or they might be runners,” he said. “The first part of the process is knowing what is their normal so we can adapt ourselves accordingly.”
The Moore Police Department said this program is a way to have more positive outcomes when serving a diverse community.
“With mental health and special needs on the forefront of topics within law enforcement, we are always looking for ways to better serve our citizens and this is just one of the ways,” Johnson said.
People can register on the city of Moore's website or send an email to MPD, and an officer will call you to get your information.
Johnson said people who sign up will need to update their information every year. The information given is put in a secure database and is completely confidential.