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The Scott County Sheriff’s Office is now using a phone app that provides deputies with information about vulnerable individuals they may encounter.

It’s all part of an effort to create safer, more informed interactions, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Through the Vitals App, individuals living with invisible or visible conditions, such as varying developmental, physical, behavioral and intellectual abilities or mental health issues, who may not be able to readily communicate their needs to others, can create a personalized profile that can be shared with law enforcement and other first responders, the release said.

App users carry a beacon embedded on a wallet-sized card or fob. When the beacon is within 80 feet of a deputy with the app, the deputy will get an alert. This allows the deputy temporary access to critical information the user or caregiver has uploaded to their profile — information the deputy otherwise wouldn’t necessarily know — providing an opportunity to customize their response to the situation at hand.

“Conditions such as mental illness, intellectual disabilities or an autism spectrum disorder are often invisible, giving no clues to a responding deputy that the situation may need to be handled in a different way,” Sheriff Luke Hennen said in a statement. “The Vitals App will help bridge this communication gap, providing a safer experience for all involved.”

A community informational meeting has been scheduled where a representative from Vitals Aware Services will be giving a presentation about the app and will be available to answer questions. The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 at the Scott County Board Room, Government Center, 200 4th Ave. W., Shakopee.

Social workers, other first responders/law enforcement personnel, mental health advocates, health care providers, caregivers, parents, and guardians of vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to attend.

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