The Brown County Sheriff’s office and New Ulm Police Department have started using an app that will make interaction with vulnerable residents more effective. The Vitals app provides first responders with crucial information about people living with disabilities, expanding the potential for safe resolutions.

People voluntarily enroll in the program and provide information on their disability or condition, which could include autism, dementia, mental health issues, schizophrenia, PTSD, and more.  That person would then wear a beacon in the form of a keychain, necklace, debit card, or bracelet, then download the Vitals app on an Android phone.

If the user comes within 80 feet of a first responder equipped with the service, a notification will be sent to the responder.  The notification will include the person’s diagnosis and how to best interact with them, including information on de-escalation techniques, and medication information.

The app is currently used in several Minnesota communities, including St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, and Richfield.