Houston County Sheriff’s Office now offering special needs form to help with 911 calls

The Houston County Sheriff's Office is finding a way for law enforcement to better understand people who have special needs.
Houston County E-911 center

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The Houston County Sheriff’s Office is finding a way for law enforcement to better understand people who have special needs.

Lieutenant Veronica Edens holds many titles.

She’s the E-911 Operations Coordinator for the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, she’s a wife and she’s a mother. Her 22-year-old son Austin has autism, and he drives her passion for educating people about the condition. That’s why she came up with the Residential Premise Form. Caretakers of those with special needs can fill it out and it will be put on file with the caretaker’s address.

“I realized there needs to be a way for parents and caretakers to tell us what’s their likes and dislikes,” she said. “Do they have sensory processing disorders or anything like that that may benefit them or the police officers?”

Edens says when a call comes in from a residence with a completed form, the call taker will be on alert.

“At that time, the call taker will look up at that premise (form), see what’s going on and utilize that information to figure out what we can do to help that individual who’s in crisis,” she explained.

Bridgette Arno-Sparks, the Education and Behavioral Consultant for Puzzle Pieces Intervention Center, says the effort is vital to helping people with special needs.

“Pairing with our special needs community members, as well with their parents and caretakers, is going to bring such a significant impact positively to helping not only just having a safer community but helping to better respond to emergencies, dangerous situations, threats,” she said.

Arno-Sparks hopes people will share the form online and with local doctors’ offices.

“The more that our community can work together and bond together to help individuals with disabilities become more aware there are services available out there, the more that we can better serve every aspect and individual in our community,” she said.

Edens says she’s already been contacted by another agency asking if they could use the form in their community.

“This is making an impact larger than just Houston County, and that means a lot,” she said. “Especially smaller agencies. Sometimes maybe they don’t have as much, so if they go ahead and get this information now, they’re better prepared for the future.”

If you’d like to fill out a Residential Premise Form, e-mail Lieutenant Edens at vedens@houstoncountyga.org, or call (478) 542-9911.

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