Avon population

Tell City Police to Adopt the “Aware” Program to Respond to Emergency Calls

TELL CITY, Ind. (WFIE) – A new communication-based program could make emergency calls much smoother in Tell City.

The program is called “Aware” and its goal is to educate first responders about dementia and medical conditions when it matters most.

I spoke with the Tell City police chief who chooses to adopt the program.

It will serve as a de-escalation and mental health awareness initiative using something as small as a sticker.

Families or individuals can complete a referral form with their doctor if they have disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome or dementia and submit it to the police department.

Then you will receive a sticker for your car and home with the “Aware” symbol on it.

Chief Derrick Lawalin says first responders will be trained on what that sticker means, so they can be prepared when they arrive on the scene.

The program started in Avon, Indiana and Chief Lawalin said after speaking to a colleague there, the feedback seemed to be extremely helpful for first responders.

“I feel like this percentage of our population deserves this effort on our part to be prepared and meet their needs,” Chief Lawalin said. “My wife is an occupational therapist and works with autistic children, so I have a soft spot for those people. So I feel like that’s a way for us to be proactive and better serve that population.

The Chief tells us this could help in situations where an individual may not be able to communicate verbally. This will help first responders know that they are not abstaining on purpose.

Tell City Police adopts ‘Aware’ program to help with emergency calls – Pt II

We spoke with a dispatcher in Tell City who told us that one of her sons has autism, and a program like this will bring her some relief as a mother.

“We always kept a landline on our phone, so if there was an emergency, our son would know he could dial 911 and they would have our address as opposed to a general area,” said Candie Kleemann, a tell city dispatcher. “So it’s just another step to make people aware that he’s there.”

The chief says that it is a free program and the police department will not ask you for any records or medical data. It’s just this referral form from your doctor.

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