The Pelham School District and the Pelham Police Department have partnered up in order to better assist law enforcement when dealing with people with disabilities. Lt. Anne Perriello and School Resource Officer Brian Kelly met with the Pelham Special Education Focus Group. Together they came up with a voluntary registry designed to better accommodate members of the community that have disabilities such as; Autism, Schizophrenia, Dementia or any other mental, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. The registry was originally going to be implemented for school aged children, however, as the program developed the police department decided to open the registry up to all residents from the Town of Pelham, New Hampshire.
The registry is called S.O.A.R., Special Outreach and Resource. It is a proactive partnership with the disabled population. It is also designed to better assist first responders with your loved one in the event that they are lost and unable to verbally communicate. In addition to the registration form that will provide a great deal of information, The Pelham Special Education Focus Group is going to provide officers with a history of different disabilities. They are going to educate the officers on different effective communications styles and approaches based on the need at hand.
Caregivers and participants can come to the lobby of the police department and voluntarily fill out a registration questionnaire. Officers will take you or your loved one’s photograph and create a confidential file, and if necessary, they will assist in completing the form with emergency contact information. Each participant will leave the department with a S.O.A.R. identification card. The identification card will include a photograph, the participants name and emergency contact information. The card will be endorsed by the Pelham Police Department and the agency will also serve as a contact for you or your loved one.
The Pelham Special Education Focus Group is a support group comprised of School Administrators, Special Education Aides, and parents of students with disabilities. Their goal is to increase the partnership with the community and the school district. Their focus on people with disabilities helped generate the new town wide registry.