Special needs registry started by Hickory Police - | WBTV Charlotte

Special needs registry started by Hickory Police

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

Hickory Police on Tuesday began sign ups for a Special Needs Registry that they hope will give officers in the field a better handle of what they might be facing when answering calls.

In some communities across the country, accidents have happened when officers misinterpreted how individuals acted at a scene.

Hickory police want their officers to know about issues before they encounter them.

Peg Hite asked Hickory Police officials to start the registry out of concern for her adult son who has developmental issues.

Peg says he is good-natured, and walks a couple of miles every day, but she is concerned about what might happen if he was caught in the middle of a situation that police were responding to.

The registry would give officers information they need about him.

"So if he didn't respond to their commands they would know why."

Police want everyone with a special needs person in a Hickory household to stop by the department and fill out the forms. They advise you to bring a photograph of the person being registered so they can add that into the system.

Once the registry is up and running, dispatchers in the communications center will be able to advise officers who are en route to a call as to what they might encounter.

Jennifer Stevens says it is critical for her 16 year old daughter who has developmental issues and, as Jennifer puts it, "is very uncomfortable when she is in contact with police."

She says it would be easy for an officer to misinterpret how she is acting.

"She may look like she is being defiant to them," and added "If they know what's wrong with her they will respond to her totally different."

Chief Tom Adkins says it is one more tool for police and the community to come together and work on. Anyone who needs to sign someone up is urged to call the Hickory Police Department and make an appointment. The entire process only takes a few minutes.

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