YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s certainly not a new problem. And it’s not a brand new solution.
But now the city of York’s police department is inviting residents to advise police to “Handle With Care” — that’s the name of the registry — family members who have special needs police should know about before they respond to a call.
“You’re taking years’ worth of information” — a mental illness history, for example — “and you’re providing it to an officer who has a matter of minutes to be able to make a decision,” said Michael Muldrow, York city’s police commissioner.
York residents can register here.
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“To try to prevent some of the negative, unintended negative consequences that you see when officers respond to individuals in crisis and mental illness, like some of the instances we saw in Philadelphia and Lancaster and so on,” Muldrow said.
He said in shaping York’s version of “Handle With Care,” he drew on his experience as former police chief for York city schools. The idea of gathering lots of information about individuals before encountering them actually has a longer history in school police departments than in municipal ones, Muldrow said.
Muldrow said elements like the registry — through which residents can, for example, warn police about what kinds of actions might “trigger” a vulnerable person to escalate — are just a first phase of the program. The city is also incorporating its own full-time “co-responder.”
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