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West Hartford Police Implement CareCard Identification Program

West Hartford Police are now offering CareCards to anyone who would like one. Courtesy image

CareCards can help first responders respond properly to children as well as adults with  special needs, and are useful in the event that someone goes missing.

West Hartford Police are now offering CareCards to anyone who would like one. Courtesy image

West Hartford Police are now offering CareCards to anyone who would like one. Courtesy image

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Police Department is now offering CareCards to residents that can be used for a variety of purposes, including having information available if a child goes missing, or for providing a quick reference for conditions – medical, psychological, or otherwise – that a child or adult may have.

Lt. Eric Rocheleau, who heads the West Hartford Police Department’s Community Relations Division, said that the department often gets calls after incidents happen elsewhere in the country, and that’s what happened after an autistic man’s caregiver was shot in Florida last summer. “We got phone calls with people asking, ‘Could this happen here?'” Rocheleau said.

“Our officers are trained in dealing with people who have special needs, but what if they’re not verbal?” Rocheleau said.

That incident in part was the impetus for creation of the CareCards. Police met with West Hartford Public Schools Director of Pupil Services Gretchen Nelson and the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) to get their input for development of an identification card that would enable police and other emergency responders to use the right approach to treat individuals with special needs “in a safe, effective, and compassionate fashion,” Rocheleau said.

The CareCard – which is available to anyone who wants one, not just for individuals with special needs – can be used as identification if a child is missing. It can include information about special needs or conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, diabetes, depression, schizophrenia, chronic seizures, etc.

A card can be carried or worn by an individual on a lanyard, so that first responders will see it when they make contact and know how to properly care for an individual during an emergency situation.

The cards can include a variety of detail such as name, date of birth, address, photograph, medical conditions, clinical conditions, important subjective information, hospital choice, and emergency contact information. The cards are customized and only as much detail as desired can be included. 

“Because of privacy issues people may not want certain things printed on the card,” Rocheleau said. There is also the option of having certain information printed on the card, but other details with sensitive information maintained by police in their database. That information will be accessible to officers in their cruisers, as well as at headquarters.

The CareCards can also serve as ID cards kept by parents with vital information that police would need if a child goes missing.

The CareCards are made at the West Hartford Police Department, and a form can be downloaded by clicking here. Police will send the cards out via mail. Individuals can also come to the lobby of the station at 103 Raymond Rd. to request a card.

Rocheleau said that cards will also be produced at the West Hartford Police Department booth at events such as Celebrate West Hartford.

Anyone with questions can contact the Community Relations Division at 860-570-8820.

“It’s a nice, feel-good measure,” Rocheleau said. “We have already spoken with parents and they are very happy about it.”

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