Local law enforcement protects vulnerable citizens

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WASHINGTON, HOLMES COUNTIES, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – When someone calls 911, deputies aren’t sure exactly what they’re about to walk into.

“When deputies respond, the more information they can get is always, always better,” Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews said.

When a local mother asked Crews how her deputies would respond to a call about her autistic son, the two hatched a plan to help the entire community.

“We’re able to flag addresses through our communications center, so if we get a call there, our dispatchers can let the deputy know,” Crews said.

After the Washington County Sheriff’s Office adopted this program, so did the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.

“When you answer a call when there is an autistic child or someone with mental health issues, you want to know what you are dealing with before you arrive, so you know how to handle the situation,” said the Holmes County Sheriff John Tate. mentioned.

Deputies at the Washington County and Holmes County Sheriff’s Offices must also undergo special training on how to handle these types of situations.

In addition to this program, the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office also offers wristbands to people with dementia so they can be found by law enforcement in case they get lost.

However, officials say these special tracking bracelets can also be used for other people.

“Children with autism also tend to drift away,” Tate said. “It is used for children or adults.”

Both sheriffs say these programs are aimed at keeping even the most vulnerable members of their communities safe.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has a similar program, and anyone who wants to register can visit or call their local sheriff’s office.

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