The Chattanooga Police Department launches Take Me Home, a free program that's designed to assist law enforcement during contacts with adults and children in the community who have disabilities such as, but not limited to Autism, Alzheimer's, Dementia, or other cognitive or developmental disabilities.
The Take Me Home program was developed by a Pensacola, Fl. police officer and a Chattanooga firefighter who has a child with autism is credited with bringing the program to the attention of CPD. “When I first saw the Take Me Home software at an Autism workshop for first responders I knew that this was something that would benefit a lot of families in and around Chattanooga,” said CFD Captain Skyler Phillips.
The Take Me Home program will help better serve the needs of those with certain disabilities by bridging communication between those individuals and first responders. Enrollment in the confidential database allows CPD access to critical information that can assist with responding to a person who is unable to speak, properly identify themselves or acts in a manner that could possibly be misinterpreted by first responders.
“Having a photo of an individual, a summary of known behaviors, and emergency contact information for an community member with special needs at our fingertips can help officers better communicate with and reunite them with their loved ones sooner,” said CPD Chief David Roddy.
The Center for Disease Control estimates nearly one in 68 American children have autism spectrum disorder. This means encounters with police and other first responders in emergency situations are going to occur. The CPD is pleased to have the support of the Chattanooga Autism Center who already sees the needs and benefits of the Take Me Home program.
"Individuals with autism wandering off is a critical concern for families," said Roddey Coe, vice president, Chattanooga Autism Center. "The Take Me Home program is an essential tool for law enforcement and will save lives in our community."
Take Me Home is voluntary for citizens to participate and all information is kept confidential.
Enrollment is easy, caregivers can enroll family members, friends or clients with special needs online at https://tmh.chattanooga.gov or through the free Chattanooga PD Mobile app. More information can be found at http://chattanooga.gov/police-department/take-me-home. Questions or concerns can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.