Plymouth police hosting community meetings on new Vitals™ App

See original article from: Lakeshore Weekly News 

 

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Police Department is hosting a community meeting so residents can learn more about a new app the department is using to help officers better interact with people with mental illness or disabilities that can make it difficult for them to communicate.

The department will host two community meetings to highlight the Vitals App and help answer peoples’ questions. The first meeting will be held Jan. 10 at 4 p.m. at the Plymouth Library, 15700 36th Ave. N., and the second will be on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at the Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave. N.

Those who plan to attend are encouraged to register online for free at: https://www.plymouthmn.gov/departments/public-safety/police/programs-services/vitals.

There are about 1,800 Vitals App users in the Twin Cities regional area. The city of Plymouth has 26 active user accounts, Dawn Peterson, director of operations at Vitals Aware Services, told Lakeshore Weekly News.

 

How the Vitals™ App works

A vulnerable person or their caregiver can create a Vitals™ profile, which includes information that could be helpful to police or other first responders. This information could include de-escalation techniques, behavior triggers, medical information and contact information for a person’s caregiver.

The person with a Vitals™ profile then carries around a beacon — it can be a card, button or a phone app — and when the beacon is within 80 feet of an officer with the Vitals First Responder app, the officer will get an alert. This will allow the officer to see all the information in the person’s Vitals profile — information the officer otherwise wouldn’t know — which will help the officer better respond to the situation at hand.

The hope is the Vitals™ App will improve interactions between police and community members, especially those who are unable to communicate with officers due to an invisible condition, such as dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, diabetes or seizure disorders.

There are 28 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota that are currently using the Vitals™ App, including a handful in the Lake Minnetonka area. They are: Deephaven, Hopkins, Three Rivers Park District and Chaska, the Vitals website shows.

Vitals™ Aware Services is based in Minnesota and has been working with the Autism Society of Minnesota, the Pacer Center, The Arc of Minnesota, Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and first responders to use technology like the Vitals™ App to help “solve various challenges in our society,” the company’s website says.

For more information on how the program works and to sign up, visit thevitalsapp.com.