Brittney & I are best friends. We share a lot of the same goals, passions, worries, and concerns that come with being a parent. Our worlds may look similar in the way that many parents would look, but Brittney’s looks different than mine on some levels due to her son, Lorenzo, who is autistic.
Brittney came to me over six months ago about a concern she had with Lorenzo when it came to law enforcement. She expressed the way he handled a moment from a simple car accident, and it made her realize he doesn’t always get the severity of things. She said she worried that when, her now eight year old got bigger that he may encounter a situation down the road where his autism might not be understood by an officer. That a situation could go into a direction no parent ever wants it to go. I told her that day, we would do something, and try our hardest to make sure that never happens.
What spun from that talk was “Bring Me Home”.
We met with Chief Hardwick of the St. Augustine Beach police department and presented him with our ideas. He loved them all, and was ready to jump on board. What came next was the incredible law office of Ginn-Patrou wanting to help make this non profit happen, and then Chief Hardwick helping us put together a great team.
We met with some really incredible people who we will announce soon. We got to meet with the state director of Best Buddies for Florida, as well as the county director.
We will be doing large meet ups quite a few times a year that will include any kids and adults with autism, Down syndrome, dementia, mental health issues, and so on. This is to include all. We will have the police officers come in, and do activities, and eat, and interact with them so they can get to know them and become familiar with them, and how they interact. We will have trained therapist there to do training with the officers on how to handle and interact with them, and explain what they might encounter.
We plan to have therapist help train the kids to get to know each time we introduce them to an officer to get in the habit of saying “Bring Me Home” so that right then and there, the officers know this child/adult is part of the Bring Me Home program and hopefully the situation is immediately deescalated.
All St. Johns County officers, as well as first responders will have a new data base program called “Bring Me Home” which will have anyone who has any of the issues we talked about in there that have been identified. We hope to include photos for them all, but it will also state what triggers them, what calms them, what they may do when they are nervous- such as hands in pocket, not looking people in the eye, and so on. It will have their parent/guardian/person of contacts info in there as well, so the whole point is to get this person home safely.
WE may have a background color behind their photo that can immediately pin point them to autism, dementia, mental health, and so on.
We will also have any vehicles and home addresses put into this system associated with these children/adults.
We will be making ID cards for them to carry around with the same information on it, so that if they can learn to just hand that card over, we can get them home safely.
We will be making silicone bracelets for them to wear that could also ID them.
We do have more ideas, but we are starting with those first…:)
We are so excited to get this started, and really feel like we are putting together such a great team, and feel blessed that the right people are on board with us. We look forward to sharing more with you all soon, as we still have a little more work to do to get this all set up. In the meantime, please know we are setting up our website and will have that to you all soon, and be able to start getting info for kids/adults who would like to be a part of this program.
Working with law enforcement to help build a relationship with the special needs population of
St. Johns County to improve the safety precautions taken to ensure everyone makes it home safely.
We will be hosting several events that will bring together the special needs population of St. Johns County as well as law enforcement. These events will be packed with information and training to help build relationships as well as understanding within the community.
Our community is full of people who want to help. We work to help the people providing services with the people who need them. Come connect with people in new ways.