Charles Sheriff Announces Voluntary Developmental Disabilities Registry Program
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is launching a new voluntary registry program in an effort to provide law enforcement with identifying information for people with autism or developmental disabilities. Corporal Mark Bourgeois of the Crime Prevention Unit worked with Ms. Christine Prozik, Autism Services Coordinator for Charles County Public Schools, to develop this initiative. The program is intended for:
- Individuals who may be unable to respond appropriately or identify themselves to law enforcement;
- People who may wander as a symptom of a disability and get lost; and
- People who are non-verbal or unable to communicate.
This voluntary program gives citizens the opportunity to provide relevant information about loved ones to law enforcement in advance if they are involved in an incident where officers are present. Information provided may include, but is not limited to, individuals:
- Contact number;
- Physical attributes, such as height, weight, hair color, eye color, and other identifying characteristics;
- Recent pictures; and
- Triggers, such as bright lights or noises.
Information provided by citizens will be stored privately in our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAO) program. When agents respond to a scene where the individual is present, or at their address, the dispatch will be able to provide them with the information contained in the CAD. “Having this information in advance will help responding officers and protect the safety of everyone involved,” said Cpl. Bourgeois.
“Our dedicated men and women continue to look for ways to better serve our community and improve safety in Charles County,” said Sheriff Troy Berry. “The voluntary registry program will be an extremely useful tool in meeting the needs of people with autism or other developmental or cognitive disabilities.”
All Charles County citizens wishing to submit information for the Voluntary Registration Program are asked to contact Corporal Bourgeois by phone at (301) 609-6233 or by email at [email protected].