SNAP Decision

The Berlin Police Department is looking to improve their abilities as first responders with SNAP, the Special Needs Alert Program. Intended to assist with crisis intervention and potentially tense situations, this program is intended to help them learn about individuals with special needs, so as to better help first responders in understanding how to respond and react.

The voluntary program offers residents the opportunity to participate by completing a form and providing a picture, offering details on conditions that may necessitate special handling or expertise from first responders.

Says Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing about the need for the program, "surrounding agencies actually have gotten training in crisis intervention and autism and other mental illnesses, and what we found was a lot of people in crisis when we get there, we have no idea of their history. Therefore, we are not really ready to go ahead and help de-escalate their situation."

Worchester County Developmental Center Director Jack Ferry offers his support for the program, observing "First responders know before they get to the home, who's in there, what their triggers are, how to handle the situation, so they're already arriving with all that information in hand. They don't have to arrive and try to figure out the situation at the scene. They already know what they're going to deal with and already have a plan going into it."