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New registry in Ontario County designed to help improve police response to certain households

Ontario County has a new registry where residents who have someone at home with a disability can register that information with authorities, to help minimize disruptions for that individual. Residents can use the OntarioSheriffNY mobile app to register, or call the Sheriff's Office at the non-emergency number: 585-394-4560 or 800-394-4560.
Ontario County Sheriff's Office
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Ontario County has a new registry where residents who have someone at home with a disability can register that information with authorities, to help minimize disruptions for that individual. Residents can use the OntarioSheriffNY mobile app to register, or call the Sheriff's Office at the non-emergency number: 585-394-4560 or 800-394-4560.

There’s a new program in Ontario County designed to help law enforcement and other first responders better respond to homes where someone inside might have a disability that makes them react negatively to things like police sirens or other types of responses from various public safety agencies.

The program is called “Handle with Care,” and it allows residents to register information with the Sheriff’s Office in Ontario County with details about an individual in the home who could have a negative response to something like a police car siren.

The idea for the registry came about after Cassie Sneider of Geneva, who cares for a 10-year-old nephew with developmental disabilities, was worried that his occasional loud outbursts could trigger a police response.

“Eventually he’s going to be a big grown tall man,” said Sneider, “and that is mutually terrifying for him to have police coming to our house, should that ever happen, or police to have to walk into a scary situation where an adult man is having a meltdown.”

She worked with local officials and said that they were very receptive to the idea for a registry.

“When we first had our initial meeting, and they were like, ‘this is possible, let's do it,’ I cried,” said Sneider, “because it's just such a burden lifted. I worry about my kid all the time. And I know that other parents and other caregivers have similar worries.”

Ontario County Sheriff David Cirencione said the concept just made a lot of sense.

“It might be a matter of, ‘Hey, turn the lights and siren off before you get there so as not to cause extra alarm, or maybe it's just a 911 hang up call, “ said Cirencione.

The sheriff said it may not even be a police call for the child or adult who has a disability, it would be a 911 call for someone else in the home.

“There may be somebody with special needs in the house that’s going to be triggered by an emergency response, and maybe they have to call 911 for somebody other than that person,” said Cirencione. “Maybe there’s a medical call for someone else in the house. But that still helps us to know, ‘hey, turn the response down a little bit when you’re a half mile away so that you don’t upset the child in the house.'"

The registry will be available to all police agencies in Ontario County, since they are all dispatched out of the county’s 911 center.

Cirencione said that If residents in Ontario County want to be part of the registry, they can download the Ontario Sheriff free mobile app from the Apple and Google Play stores, or call the Sheriff’s Department at 585-394-4560 or 800-394-4560.

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.