Brown County and the City of New Ulm have launched Vitals™ to better serve a growing senior population and people with visible and invisible disabilities
October 30, 2019 – In both Brown County and New Ulm, Minnesota, law enforcement officers pride themselves on their knowledge of the communities they serve. Recognizing an increasing senior population and a rising number of service calls to individuals in distress, the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department have joined forces to join the Vitals™ community.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to connect with our vulnerable residents and their loved ones. Deputies will now have information directly from family members and caregivers on how to de-escalate interactions when residents might be having a tough day. We have noticed an increase in these types of calls for service, and we’re providing our deputies and residents with tools to ensure compassionate and positive outcomes for everyone involved,” Brown County Sheriff Jason Seidl explained.
Vitals™ enrollees, or their family members, voluntarily provide the individualized information in this cutting-edge program revolving around technological innovation. When officers respond to calls regarding Vitals enrollees, they immediately receive important information on their smart phones that will help them de-escalate or resolve a situation by providing a response catered to a person’s specific needs and vulnerabilities.
New Ulm Police Chief Dave Borchert first started looking at Vitals™ to help serve individuals with autism, but he quickly realized the service will also help serve the senior population in the city of 14,000. The ability to solidify partnerships with two growing communities, and further increase the approachability of his officers, provided a win-win solution.
“Not only will our officers have immediate information on how to de-escalate a highly individual situation, we’ll have contact information. This allows us to immediately connect a person with a loved one and a service organization that can be helpful. We’re very excited to sign up community members as we kick-off the program, but we also plan on immediately following up many of our calls by offering this game-changing service,” Chief Borchert said.
8 Brown County Sheriff Deputies and 21 New Ulm Police Officers will have access to the Vitals™ app and the valuable information provided by community members who sign up. Brown County is home to nearly 26,000 residents, and within the county, there are 10 home health agencies, 9 assisted living/customized-living service providers and 4 nursing home/care centers.
“The Sheriff and Chief are not only demonstrating a profound commitment to the elderly and vulnerable members of their community, they’re providing some ‘peace of mind’ for their family members and for the public servants who are called to help. We are proud to partner with two departments that value collaborative agency and community partnerships as they share common goals,” Vitals President/Chief Executive Officer Janeé Harteau remarked.
Vitals™ Aware Services was launched in August of 2017. Approximately 70 first responding agencies and a handful of school districts are currently using the community-based service.
About Vitals™ Aware Services
Vitals™ works by equipping first responders with information voluntarily provided by Vitals™ enrollees. Law enforcement and other first responders download the Vitals™ First Responder app on their cellphones. The service allows a vulnerable person to register online, then wear a beacon that takes the form of a keychain, necklace, debit card or bracelet. An Android phone can also serve as the beacon. When a Vitals™ user comes within 80 feet of an officer or first responder equipped with the service, the officer will get a notification about the person’s diagnosis and how they may best interact with them. To learn more about Vitals™, go to www.thevitalsapp.com