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'Take Me Home' program: Hewitt police helping neighbors with special needs

Hewitt police have started a 9-1-1 registry to help Central Texans with special needs in the community — the program is free for McLennan County residents.
Hewitt police
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jul 09, 2024

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

“We are gathering as much information as possible, and it's just to keep everyone safe and get them back home," said Communications Supervisor for the Hewitt Police Department, Misty Gammel.

The Hewitt Police Department's "Take Me Home" program helps keep Central Texans with special needs safe.

Anyone in McLennan County with a cognitive or developmental disability can enroll.

The form tells police how to interact with the individual, making them aware of likes, dislikes, and behavioral patterns.

"It helps because there can be such a communication gap, that we're able to just help the citizens the best that we possibly can," Gammel said.

The owner of Focus Behavioral Health shared her experience with caring for children with special needs.

"It's really hard when you don't know just the personality of the child, and what their strengths and weaknesses are — it's really hard to approach them and go, 'Where are they?'," said Focus Behavioral, Lisa Fuentes.

The form can help police know the person's specific triggers.

"Some people are scared to talk to police officers, some people are scared to talk to men or scared to talk to women, so the form that you can fill out and submit to the police department lists all of that type of information," Gammel said.

"A lot of times that can be fearful for them, and that kind of makes them more stand off-ish and less likely to be able to communicate their wants and needs," Fuentes said.

The form lists general information, such as lemergency contacts and addresses.

"Being able to know what they like or dislike can really help build that bridge — especially in a crisis mode," Fuentes said.

"But having the photo really helps connect the information we're receiving with the person the officers are going to be looking at," Gammel said.

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