It's a new program to help Yakima Police Officers deal with people with special needs. It's called Project Guardian and if you have a person with special needs in your home you'll want to be part of the program. Yakima Police officials say Police often don’t know whether or not individuals they encounter have special needs because there aren’t any physical signs. Flashing lights on an emergency vehicle, for example, might cause a person with special needs to become frightened and act out. What may seem like a simple interaction with police could be a very traumatic situation for a person with special needs and confusing to officers. The program isn't just to alert police officers. It's also designed to alert other emergency responders like firefighters and paramedics who may need to know how to respond to a person who is in need of help.
When someone enrolls in the program, officers obtain their basic information, a current digital photograph, family emergency contact information, and other information that might help officers when encountering the individual. Once registered, police mail a sticker and static cling to display in a home and vehicle window to alert officers of a potential person with special needs. Yakima Police say the program was started on Friday in Yakima and they say it could help save lives and give more direction to authorities and first responders who want to help in an emergency situation.
If you would like to get involved in the program contact the Yakima Police Department at 575-6200 for more information.

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