Taylorsville police adopt Project Safeguard, a program that provides information on person with special needs

Jan 29, 2024, 6:18 PM | Updated: 6:49 pm

TAYLORSVILLE — Time is of the essence when responding to any call for police, especially when it involves a missing person with autism, dementia, or any other special needs.

Project Safeguard, a program spearheaded by The Unified Police Department several years ago, aims at helping law enforcement have access to important information quickly about specific individuals that could help police in any given situation.

Multiple agencies throughout Salt Lake County already participate and have access to this information. The program is now being implemented by the Taylorsville Police Department.

“Having that background input directly from the family, what is best for those situations, definitely helps us,” said Lt. Jaren Fowler with Taylorsville police. “It saves time.”

Families go online and fill out a questionnaire that asks for basic and disability information and a photo.

A question that Project Safeguard asks about the person with special needs.

A question that Project Safeguard asks about the person with special needs. (KSL TV)

But it also asks questions based on certain characteristics:

  • Will they respond to their name if called?
  • What are their fears, likes and dislikes?
  • Do they have any common places they like to hide?
  • Is their residence close to any type of body of water?
  • What is their meltdown behavior like?
  • Do they have any triggers?
  • What calming strategies do they respond to?

All of this information, Fowler said, will go a long way for officers.

“Having a background, a quick accessible background, on the situation that we’re going into helps increase safety. (It) helps develop trust between family and law enforcement and the subject that inevitably in need of our assistance,” he said.

Once filled out, Fowler says a detective will follow up to make sure the information is accurate. He said families must help keep that information up to date.

“The quicker we can locate this person and reunite this person, the better,” Fowler said.

To fill out the Project Safeguard form, visit the Taylorsville government website.

Below is a list of participating agencies in Salt Lake County:

  • Bluffdale
  • Cottonwood Heights
  • Draper
  • Herriman
  • Murray
  • Riverton
  • Salt Lake City
  • Sandy
  • South Jordan
  • South Salt Lake
  • Taylorsville
  • Unified Police
  • West Jordan
  • West Valley

Unified Police said other agencies outside Salt Lake County participate as well.

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Taylorsville police adopt Project Safeguard, a program that provides information on person with special needs