Avon Police Department Launches New Program to Improve Interactions with Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

By Peg McRoy Glover

The Avon police department has developed a new program called AWARE that will assist first responders during their initial interactions with individuals who have cognitive disabilities or medical impairments.

The program has been a little less than a year in the making and was introduced to the community and town council by Chief Deputy Brian Nugent on Nov. 18.

The logo for the program is circular with a basic human image in the center with AWARE imprinted on the bottom. A sticker with the logo imprinted on it can be displayed on a vehicle orthe doors of a home where an individual with cognitive disorders resides.

The sticker will give first responders an immediate indicator that they may be about to interact with a person with an impairmentor disability.

“This is a very simple program,” said Nugent. “We felt that the impact of the program would be maximized if we maintain a simplification of what it is.

This is a de-escalation program designed to educate officers on how to better interact with people on the autism spectrum, thosewith dementia, Alzheimer’s, down syndrome, diabetes, hypoglycemia, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, schizophrenia, or any condition recommended by a physician.

AWARE is free to all families and police, fire, and EMS departments in Hendricks County.

The launch of the program is being funded by the Central Indian Police Foundation. For more information go to https://awareprogram.info/