CRANFORD - The Cranford Police Department is taking steps to make it easier to help residents who may be lost or have trouble communicating with officers.

 The new “Special Needs Registry” is specifically designed for those who may be challenged with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Dementia, Down Syndrome, or other special needs. The program was formed to better assist loved ones who might be at a higher risk for wandering from home and getting lost. By voluntarily registering, the Cranford Police Department will have access to personal information should they encounter an individual who has difficulty speaking or identifying themselves.

Interested family members will be asked to complete a descriptive questionnaire regarding their family member in need, providing the registrant's height, weight, and other information useful to first-responders, such as emergency contacts, a recent photo of the individual, and their home address.

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The information will be kept on file at Police Headquarters and will be accessible at times such as during an encounter where an individual can't tell officers where he/she lives, or beneficial in cases where a person is reported missing, so that their pedigree and photograph are immediately available to responding police officers.

The program is completely voluntary and all the information kept on file will remain confidential within the Cranford Police Department.

To complete and file a registration form, or for more information, contact Officer John Rattigan of the Cranford Police Department's Community Policing Unit at 908-272-8989.