It’s the difference between a matter of minutes and a matter of seconds.
Burke County’s Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard, says, “this is just one more tool in your toolbox that lets them know what’s going on.“
Burke County Sheriff’s Office adopted a decal system.
“Basically it says they might not respond to verbal commands. This is an occupant that might have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and we didn’t put sheriff’s office, because it is for all emergency responders, police, fire, rescue,“ says Chief Deputy Blanchard.
Besides Alzheimer’s, there is a decal for the hearing impaired, and those who have diabetes or autism.
Community Service Board of Middle Georgia employee, Renia Hullander, says, “knowing that someone is autistic and is not going to give you eye contact, or maybe is not verbal, that is a great thing for a police officer to know to be able to handle the situation in a safer environment.“
Hullander deals with special needs individuals on a daily basis. She says that some may be hesitant to the sticker because of a labeling stigma.
“A lot of times with mental health, they don’t want to be noticed or special needs to be sectioned out or treated differently, but when it comes to safety, when it comes to being a part of life or death it’s very important,“ says Hullander.
These decals not only can go on your car, but also, your home. Chief Deputy Blanchard says, a woman in another state had the sticker at her home. Suring a regular welfare check, it was the decal that helped save her life.
He says, “the officer looked at it, noticed this person is a diabetic, they went ahead, cause it’s a 50/50 either way, but they went ahead and broke down the door, and found somebody and had he not done that, that person would have die.“
After you fill out a form at the sheriff’s office, you can get one of these decals for free.
“If it saves one life, if it helps one person then it’s certainly worth what we spent on these stickers, and how we are going to do to get it out there,“ says Chief Deputy Blanchard.
The sheriff’s department puts the information in their system, and if they are unable to see the decal during an emergency, when they call dispatch, a dispatcher can pull up their information and inform the officer.