WCSO Announces new Program: Handle With Care

DeFuniak Springs, Fla. - Caring for someone with special needs some times takes extra assistance. A local Sheriff's Office is going that extra mile to provide the community with the help they need. 

The program is called, Handle with Care. The Walton County Sheriff's Office is rolling out this program for residents who require special assistance during an emergency or non-emergency situation.

"You want your interaction with law enforcement and fire rescue to not to be traumatic but, to be a confidence builder and that's ultimately what we are trying to achieve is a currency of trust," explained Mike Adkinson, Walton County Sheriff.

It's about reaching out to residents with special needs in the community and making sure that they feel safe and protected.

"It'll provide a way for us to recognize when a deputy sheriff or a firefighter in making contact with that person or that vehicle particularly or home, they'll know okay this is an individual who is registered with Handle with Care," said Sheriff Adkinson.

Getting signed up is simple. Go to the Walton County Sheriff's Office website, at Scroll to the bottom and click, Programs and find Handle with Care. At the bottom of the page, fill out a Citizens Support Form identifying a special physical, behavioral/or psychological need. 
"It may be someone suffering with Dementia. It may be a version of Autism or it maybe a post traumatic stress issue,"shared Sheriff Adkinson.

Once the Handle with Care form is submitted and verified, it will remain the the Walton County Sheriff's Office database.

"It kind of gives us a chance to slow down and make sure that we recognize all aspects of the citizen," said Sheriff Adkinson.

When a first responder gets a call that assistance is needed, they will now be alerted with a description of the member in the vehicle or household who may need special attention. 

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