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Law enforcement builds database to help people with special needs

Palomar College police Officer Brian Herritt said his heart leapt to his throat when he turned from unloading groceries from the family car and found his autistic 6-year-old son was missing.

The heart-pounding terror any father would feel was intensified by his years of experience as a police officer, Herritt said. He knew exactly how his son’s special needs could complicate efforts to bring him home.

Herritt said his son was only missing for 15 minutes, but it was enough to get him thinking, and eventually talking with law enforcement agencies about ways to help officers identify and assist people with special needs.

The Sheriff’s Department worked with Herritt to develop Take Me Home, a regional database of identifying information and special needs of people who have conditions such as Alzheimer’s, autism or mental disabilities, said Kurtis Smith, crime analysis manager for the Sheriff’s Department. Legal guardians of people with special needs can register them for inclusion in the database, which is secure and separate from other databases law enforcement officials use, he said.

via REGION: Law enforcement builds database to help people with special needs.

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