Dunbarton, Bow to hold mental illness, medical registration event 

Monitor staff
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Three local police departments are hoping residents will share some personal information with them to help first responders better serve their communities.

Dunbarton, Bow and Goffstown police will be holding a joint registration event for people with mental illness and medical issues on Monday at Bow High School. The program is intended to aid emergency responders in their response to calls for assistance involving individuals with mental illnesses or medical impairments, according to Dunbarton police Sgt. Chris Remillard.

“It’s a national initiative that other police departments have been doing for some time,” said Remillard, who hopes to make the event annual. “It’s giving us crucial information to make us aware beforehand if someone has a mental illness, or medical issues we might need to be aware of when responding to a call.”

Remillard said the event also allows residents to provide police with lockbox information to prevent first responders from having to break down locked doors when responding to a call, or for parents to give information about juveniles in the event of a runaway or other situations. He said guardians would be able to provide physical descriptors, calming techniques or triggers that would help first responders de-escalate situations.

The whole purpose is to make connections and help our community and tailor our responses to each individual,” he said. “If we respond to a situation with lights and sirens, and that will cause anxiety in an individual, then that sets the tone of the entire contact. It can slow our efforts down, versus if we have that information up front.”

Heidi Roberge, who works for Goffstown police’s dispatching services, said the information is often critical when first responders in the area respond to mutual aid calls. Goffstown provides dispatching for Dunbarton, itself and Weare, and dispatchers are often tasked with relaying the information to first responders.

The information is often used daily, Remillard said. “Just the other day we had a juvenile with special needs take off,” she said. “Because of our information, we were able to connect her back with a parent in minutes.”

The information will be kept on file and remain confidential, and will only be accessed in the event of a crisis, according to a joint press release from Dunbarton and Bow police. Representatives from NAMI-NH, Riverbend Community Mental Health and Community Bridges will be present at the event.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bow High School library.