OUACHITA PARISH, La. — (07/24/19) Traffic stops can be anything but simple if you have certain medical conditions. But the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office has a program that will help.
“Recognizing Communication Impairment Program” is designed to aid deputies to communicate better with drivers who have certain medical conditions
A mother of a 20-year-old who has Asperger’s says she never wants officers to believe that he’s not following directions.
“If he is stressed or overstimulated he has a tendency to shut down and it can come across as noncompliant or him just being defiant,” said Stacey Guidry, Executive Director of Families Helping Families.
When being pulled over, you have a lot of things to remember. Drivers with a communication impairment should notify the deputy immediately.
“Having to remember having to state that immediately would probably add some pressure, he is capable but in that situation he may forget because he is just anxious,” said Guidry.
However, this program takes away that extra step of worry. Once accepted, drivers will receive a decal for the rear of their car, making police aware of the communication impairment prior to making contact.
They can show their driver’s license- insurance card and be confident in the deputy already knowing prior to contact that they aren’t trying to be difficult or uncooperative.
If there is a problem, the officer can call dispatch and get emergency numbers to contact. Those who apply will also receive a card they can show deputies when they may be in a different setting. The sheriff’s office wanted it to be easy to join the program.
“You’ll go to your doctor and get a medical diagnosis, written diagnoses, signed that you have some type of medical condition,” said Glenn Springfield, Public Information Officer with Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office.
And it doesn’t have to be a specific medical condition. Asperger’s, hearing problems, diabetes, and many more qualify.
“Anything that a doctor can assist in can qualify for the program,” said Springfield.
Take that diagnosis to Glenn Springfield at the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and he gets all your information into the system. Officials want everyone to be safe, no matter what side of the vehicle you’re on.
As of right now, the sticker is recognized in Ouachita Parish, however, there are hopes other law agencies will pick it up.
For more information visit the website at www.opso.net or see the Facebook page for more details.