MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Hopkins Police Department is now among a growing list of metro police departments that are a part of the Vitals Aware Services, which helps police interact with those with emotional and intellectual disorders.
On Wednesday, Hopkins police announced the move that places them along with St. Paul, Roseville and the Three Rivers Park District as the first police departments in Minnesota to use the technology.
The idea is to help police respond to situations where a person may have disabilities you can’t see. Basically the app requires a vulnerable person register online, then wear a bracelet, button or a card that puts out a signal. If they come within 30 to 50 feet of an officer, that officer will get a notification about the vulnerable person’s diagnosis and how they may best interact.
Hopkins Police Chief Brent Johnson says the app will provide officers with critical information when they approach a possibly suspicious situation.
Vulnerable individuals who don’t have a smartphone can use a $20 beacon, which can be clipped to a backpack, belt or clothing.
The Vitals App costs $5 for a law enforcement officer to download. For those with disabilities, it’s just under $10 a month.
Vitals was developed by a St. Paul company, VariAware, Inc., in partnership with The Autism Society of Minnesota.