LEBANON — The Lebanon Police Department is the latest Central Indiana law enforcement agency to join AWARE, a program created by the Avon Police Department last year.
Through decals placed on vehicles and homes, AWARE helps first responders identify situations and locations where they may be engaging with an individual with a cognitive disability or medical impairment.
"We want to make our community feel a little safer when they interact with the police," Lebanon Police Patrolman Tre Comage said. "Officers handle multiple situations a day [with] a lot of unknown factors, so getting rid of an unknown factor will give a little peace of mind to that officer, first responder, whoever it is on that call."
RELATED: AWARE program website
Avon Police Deputy Chief Brian Nugent says for law enforcement, the biggest concerns with individuals are the three c's: communication, comprehension and compliance. The AWARE decals serve as an indicator and allow law enforcement to take a proactive approach.
"Whether it's for a parent or a sibling, it'll give them that peace of mind that officers and first responders are looking for these stickers. And once we do see that, then we'll know how we can better interact with that situation that we're we're going into," Comage said. "The officers there are already aware of what could be inside the house."
The program launched in Lebanon in August. The department is encouraging the community to get decals.
The Zionsville Police Department, also in Boone County, participates in AWARE.