Kinston Police Department to launch Project Safe and Sound in January

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KINSTON, N.C. — The Kinston Police Department is announcing the future implementation of its new Project Safe and Sound initiative.

Project Safe and Sound, scheduled to begin in January 2022, is designed by officers, for public safety personnel to appropriately respond to an individual who is diagnosed with a mental impairment such as autism, schizophrenia, dementia, etc.

All information is given on a volunteer basis by the caregiver of the individual and is designed to provide first responders with quick access to critical information during encounters involving individuals with special needs.

Project Safe and Sound utilizes voluntary information collected from the participant and their family, which will then be stored at the Kinston Police Department. This information is for law enforcement purposes only and will allow police officers to follow up with Project Safe and Sound participants and their families, provide vital information to all responding agencies, and assist law enforcement during emergencies.

Police officials said they anticipate having this information readily available and will facilitate response and minimize situations of risk for the individual, as well as the risk to those intervening. Awareness and education of first responders about disabilities increase the ability to provide an appropriate response.
Project Safe and Sound will be fully implemented in January 2022.

“Let’s say that someone has walked off from their house, we’re able to already have a photo of the person, we’ve got some information, you know, what they like, what they don’t like, that way we can better, you know, engage with that individual,” said Sergeant Andrew Willis, Kinston Police Department. 

“What we’re looking for is people who have family members, that may have some challenges that they face that will provide us information so that when we interact with them, we know things that make them comfortable things that make them anxious,” said Jenee Spencer, Interim Chief of Police, Kinston Police Department.

Things people with cognitive disabilities may be sensitive to like police sirens or the blue lights. Citizens will also be able to put in simple things like home addresses or a good phone number. The police department says the awareness and education for first responders about disabilities increase their ability to provide appropriate responses.

Kinston Police Department says this will be fully voluntary information.

“It’s gonna give officers basically more information to interact with the individual,” said Sergeant Andrew Willis, Kinston Police Department.

Sergeant Andrew Willis developed the program, he says officers have already gone through crisis intervention team training and this new program will allow them to do their job more efficiently. 

“They already have those tools to better, you know, deal with those sorts of interactions. So this is just a kind of a carry-on behind all that. It just gives them more information to help them interact with the call and do a better job,” said Sergeant Andrew Willis, Kinston Police Department.

They will also be selling autism awareness patches and all the proceeds will be going to the autism society of North Carolina.

KPD will announce the implementation date in late December and will provide a website link to sign up for the program.

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