Helping each other out in Temple, Texas is always important. A rising tide raises all ships, as they say. That's true in policing, as well. That's why the Temple Police Department is now offering free stickers for households with special needs residents so officers can better prepare themselves for interactions.

Temple PD's Special Needs Sticker

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Temple PD Deputy Chief Allen Teston says the stickers can be placed on the front door of a residence or another area where it will be prominently and noticeably displayed. That way it's the first thing officers and other first responders will see.

The sticker states the following:

“A person with special needs lives here; be aware that simple instructions may not be understood.”

It's Personal for Deputy Chief Teston

The department hopes these stickers will help first responders to act with extra care and sensitivity when it comes to interacting with people who may become overwhelmed or especially anxious during interactions with anyone outside their household, particularly first responders.

This is an issue that's close to Deputy Chief Teston's heart.

"As a parent of a special needs child, I would have posted this sticker on my house if made available," Teston recently said. "Just knowing my own child's needs and that he doesn't respond well when he has multiple people talking to him when he's upset or something like that, I would want to give the officer that forenotice and try to help them to help my own child."

Teston said the knowledge that a special needs resident is present can dramatically impact the interaction that emergency responders have with people, and help those responders know that they need to be extra mindful of how many people are speaking and how they listen to and communicate with a citizen in need.

Better Informed Policing

“As police officers, when we go to a scene, we don’t know what we are walking into," said Temple Police Department Chief Shawn Reynolds. "But seeing one of these stickers can give us a better idea of who lives inside a home, having that knowledge will indicate if we need to change our approach.”

Where Can I Get A Sticker?

The stickers are absolutely free, and can be picked up in the Temple Police Department lobby at 209 E. Ave. A in Downtown Temple.

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