West St. Paul Police

Vitals App Gives Police a Mental Health Heads Up

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The Vitals App is the latest tool helping police ensure better interactions with people who have mental health or other issues. It can give peace of mind to caregivers and support the vulnerable, as well as keep everyone safer.

“Mental health is one of the most prominent issues with public safety and law enforcement right now,” West St. Paul Community Service Office Jesse Mettner told Insight 7.

How It Works

The Vitals App helps by giving officers and other first responders important information when they need it. It works using a bluetooth beacon carried by individuals with potential issues or diagnoses. When that beacon gets within 80 feet of an officer, a notification goes off on their phone, alerting them that someone with the Vitals beacon is in range. The officer can then view helpful information.

The information available to officers is uploaded by the user and can be anything that might help depending on their specific situation. It might be de-escalation techniques, medical information, or even a video from a loved one. The information shared is up to the user.

Vitals in Action

The Vitals app is ideal for people with mental health, behavioral issues, medical conditions, and more. Much of the current use is around developmentally disabled adults or children.

An incident happened in Vermillion Township last summer when a young woman with a mild cognitive disability got confused and lost on the way home. She had recently learned how to drive to and from work independently by memorizing the route. But an accident had closed roads and the woman became confused following the detours. A Dakota County deputy was able to access Vitals and get the woman’s name and address. The deputy helped calm the woman and was able to help her get home safely.

There are currently 32 subscribers in West St. Paul. The service is available for a low monthly fee. Police Chief Brian Sturgeon recently shared about the Vitals app during a City Council meeting, and noted that the city has a limited number of free subscriptions to share with the public. Reach out to the West St. Paul Police Department if you’re interested.

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