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New ‘Vitals App’ helps Branson Police Department interact with people with disabilities

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 4:01 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - A new service called the “Vitals App” allows Branson Police Department officers to better interact with people who have special conditions or disabilities.

When a Vitals user comes within 80-feet of an officer, the officer will get a notification about their diagnosis and how the officer can best interact with them.

Branson Lieutenant E.J. Jones says officers all have the Vitals First Responder App on their phones. When you sign up for the service, you will get a small Bluetooth-compatible button worn on a key chain, necklace, or bracelet.

”One of the really neat things this app does is allow the parent or caregiver of the autistic or special needs individual can record a message that can be played back by the officer,” said Jones.

Often communicating invisible conditions during an emergency can be difficult. Jones says this app’s ability to inform an officer about these conditions can take a lot of stress off that person. He says the app also provides a more detailed look at their behavior triggers.

”Which could assist the police officer with de-escalation techniques or getting them the help that they need,” said Jones.

The Police Department says services like this are essential because Branson is home to around 12,000 residents and sees millions of tourists each year. Finding ways to be more inclusive is a top priority. Jones says staff has already seen success with the application.

”When the officer walked up to the car, their phone started going off, and we’re actually able to look at it,” Jones said. “Now, granted, it was just a routine vehicle stop, the person was not in distress, but we know it does work.”

He says when officers are aware of people in need of special attention, they can go in with a different mindset and other tactics.

For more information about the program and how to sign up, CLICK HERE

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