November 30, 2021

Decal helps law enforcement in emergency calls

Decal helps law enforcement in emergency calls

A new tool created by a central Indiana police department was designed to assist in emergency situations.

The AWARE program involves displaying a four-inch circular decal at a home or on a car where the occupant may have communication, comprehension or compliance challenges within their surroundings. 

Avon Police Department Deputy Chief Brian Nugent said when police, EMS or firefighters see the decal, it means the situation may need a different approach.

“There's a lot of calls for service that officers are responding, that they simply have no understanding or awareness that the individual they're speaking with, does have a cognitive disability or an impairment,” Nugent said. “And I think that's the platform that the AWARE program seeks to establish.”

Someone with diabetes or epilepsy experiencing a medical emergency during a traffic stop or a residence dispatch may mimic the behavior of someone impaired by alcohol or drugs. Nugent said officers often encounter intoxicated individuals, but police are trained to ask questions to better assess the situation.

“One of the questions we want to start asking people during those situations are, are you diabetic? You know, have you taken your insulin; and a lot of times, those are medical emergencies that take place,” Nugent said. “I think that's just a good illustration of, you know, those types of diagnoses when you have someone that has epilepsy, and they have a tendency to have a drop of their ability to communicate effectively.”

Residents interested in the AWARE program can download a physician’s referral form at awareprogram.info. The signed form can be dropped off at the Avon, Brownsburg, Danville or Plainfield police departments for processing.

Contact WFYI All Things Considered newscaster and reporter Terri Dee at tdee@wfyi.org.

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