App alerts police who encounter people with disabilities

An app to improve relations between police and people with disabilities has grown in popularity since launching last year, as more than two dozen departments in Minnesota now use the technology.

Author: Danny Spewak
Published: 5:25 PM CDT October 31, 2018

Developed by a local company, the Vitals app allows family members to create free profiles for their relatives, who then wear electronic beacons to inform police of their presence.

In Dakota County, the Farmington Police Department is the latest to roll out the Vitals app.

Acting Chief of Police Gary Rutherford said most officers already have the apps installed on their phones, and they will be conducting in-house training over the next few weeks.

“If we don’t know what sort of condition we’re dealing with, we may not know how to handle it,” Rutherford said. “With a product like this, we get within 80 feet of a Vitals beacon and the information just automatically populates to our phone. We have it right there at our fingertips.”