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Harker Heights: New police program will help officers help residents with cognitive disabilities

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 7:35 PM CDT
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HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) - The Harker Heights Police Department has launched a new program to make it easier for officers to return people with cognitive disabilities to their families in they event they wander off.

“We’ve had situations where we’ve spent hours trying to locate family members because the individuals aren’t talking, aren’t giving us information,” said Angel Carroll, the department’s healthy homes coordinator and crime victims' advocate.

The department said it now takes officers four to six hours to identify and return cognitively disabled residents found wandering the streets to their families.

The department’s new Take Me Home Program will significantly reduce that time, police said.

Those who sign up for the program are registered in a database that includes their names, addresses, specific disabilities, emergency contacts and photos.

Once they’ve registered, they’re given a wristband that displays the police department’s phone number and the numbers by which they’re identified in the database.

Officers simply need to use that number to search the database to find all the identying information they need to get the individual back home.

“Our goal is to prevent individuals from being separated from their families for an extended period of time,” Carroll said.

Residents who want to register love ones may contact the Harker Heights Police Department at (254) 953-5414

The program is free to any adult or child with a cognitive disability in Harker Heights.

The Waco Police Department also has a Take Me Home Program.

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