Self-registry is helping vulnerable Calgarians
Almost a year after the Calgary Police Service first launched the Vulnerable Persons Self-Registry, it is proving to be an effective tool.
In one example, an elderly man went missing from his home last May and his wife called police concerned for his safety. The man suffers from dementia and his wife believed he may be wandering around the busy area in an extremely confused state.
Normally, officers can spend quite a bit of time gathering information on missing individuals. However, in this case, officers were immediately able to get all the information they needed to recognize the man – including a recent photo – from the registry.
The man was found safe and sound just a few hours after he went missing, and he was returned quickly to his family in part because they had taken the time to register him with the Calgary Police Service.
“Stories like the one from May are evidence that our self-registry is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable Calgarians,” says Constable Patty Desormeau, with the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team. “When our officers or other first responders can immediately find out about any special needs of the vulnerable people we encounter, it gives us the ability to help that person more quickly and effectively.”
The Vulnerable Person Self-Registry is a database that allows people to voluntarily submit their own information (or the information of a dependant) if they have a physical, mental or medical condition that means they may require special attention in an emergency.
While the database is managed by police, the information in the self-registry can be accessed by all first responders through Calgary’s 9-1-1 centre, when a vulnerable person is in danger or distress due to an emergency or disaster. The information stored in the database cannot be used by police as part of criminal investigations.
Since the database was launched last October, 470 Calgarians have registered and given police their physical description, photo and special instructions relating to their condition. The database is now being accessed by first responders several times each week to help vulnerable people in distress.
As fall approaches, police would like to encourage any vulnerable Calgarians who have not registered to consider doing so. Those who registered last year will also soon be receiving emails asking them to renew their registration, otherwise their information will be removed from the database. These annual renewals ensure that the information in the database is regularly reviewed and updated.