Village News Intern
On Oct. 16, the Blue Envelope Program will launch. The program is to help individuals with disabilities or other conditions communicate better with law enforcement whether this would be during a service call or emergency. The adoption of this program in San Diego County was made possible with the help of Fallbrook Crime Prevention Specialist Heather Mitchell.
In May, Mitchell saw the launch of the Blue Envelope Program by the Riverside Sheriff on social media. After seeing Riverside County launch this program, Mitchell wanted to present it to her department and that month Mitchell went to her command and told them about it.
Mitchell, being a mother of a daughter who is on the spectrum, was able to understand what it's like for individuals who need that assistance or help. Knowing more about the program, made Mitchell more passionate about bringing this to San Diego County.
What helped the program move along was feedback. With feedback, Mitchell was able to understand what the program needed to succeed.
Mitchell said, "As it evolved, it opened up the scope to not just autism so it opened it up to all kinds of areas where maybe communication might be a problem..." She added, "This is one of the fastest track programs we have ever launched. It was really ready to go you know, as we were forming it, within months which was unheard of."
The Blue Envelope Program goal is to help bridge the gap between communication and misunderstanding. Getting stopped driving or if the individual is out and about, with the Blue Envelope Program law enforcement will be able to communicate better with individuals who may need help.
Whether it's a disability or another condition, when law enforcement sees the blue envelope logo they will be aware that the individual might need another way to communicate or will need extra assistance.
Upon any interaction with law enforcement during a service call or emergency, individuals can tell law enforcement that they are part of the Blue Envelope Program or display it. Some items that can be shown with the blue envelope logo are a seatbelt cover, a popsocket for the phone, reflective stickers for the car, and a bracelet.
For the blue envelope, it has details on the outside of the envelope for notes to the deputy/officer and notes for the driver. In addition to this, it details what they can include in the envelope like a copy of their driver's license, copy of vehicle registration, and copy of current insurance card.
There is also a space on the envelope where individuals can put more about themselves. Mitchell said this is a "flexible program." There are no requirements, it depends on what the individual is comfortable with.
Individuals can pick up their blue envelope or items for free at participating law enforcement agencies and community organizations, when the program launches. Individuals can find the participating locations at https://www.sdsheriff.gov/community/blue-envelope.
The Fallbrook Substation is at 388 E. Alvarado St. and can be reached at 760-451-3124 for more information.