January 5th, 2021
“Take Me Home” – Fort Bend County, TX Partners with ImageSoft to Ensure High-Risk Individuals Return Home Safely
The Sheriff’s Department in Fort Bend County, TX, has officially launched “Take Me Home” – a program designed to improve encounters between law enforcement and individuals with cognitive impairments, such as those with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Down Syndrome and other special needs.
A pre-existing ImageSoft customer, Fort Bend County brought their vision of the frequently applied program to the ImageSoft team and, together, they built a unique, user-friendly variation of “Take Me Home” for their county. With OnBase as its foundation, all of Fort Bend’s concerns were addressed with an easy-to-use, online portal that allows citizens to create profiles on behalf of their high-risk loved ones and self-manage their accounts. Integrated with the Fort Bend County Sherriff’s Department, the public portal is instantly accessible to law enforcement in cruisers or at the station, and allows officials to quickly identify the unique circumstances of individuals, their emergency contacts and a home residence.
Different from many other variations of “Take Me Home” is Fort Bend’s use of electronic Unity Forms in place of the widespread, manual PDF in-take sheets. Users of the OnBase-native system need only to key-in identifying information, such as the individual’s name or nicknames they may respond to, glasses, birthmarks, tattoos, age, height, weight and other demographics. In the following panel, users checkmark all their loved ones’ applicable conditions that law enforcement should be aware of, including diagnoses of Asperger’s, Autism, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Dementia and others. Users can also flag additional need-to-know characteristics that will help first responders better care for the person, such as whether he or she is nonverbal, fears strangers, prefers not to be touched, is sensitive to stimulation and many others. Thanks to the External Access Client, the intuitive portal is easily self-managed by the end-user and sends annual reminders to update their account. While certain demographics may not change, users are required to provide a new, more recent photo of their loved one every year. The automated workflow then sends the profile to Fort Bend’s Sheriff’s Department, where they’ll either approve the account or walk the user through any minor errors, such as if the photo was too blurry. Once complete, profiles and data are safeguarded in Workview, which stores and safely audits both information and the interactions had with individual accounts. “We blueprinted this idea on paper and ImageSoft ran with it, turning the project into a major victory for everyone, especially the citizens of Fort Bend County,” said Murad Abbas, Project Analyst for Fort Bend County Sherriff’s Department.
“Take Me Home” is an especially personal win for Fort Bend County Sergeant Matthew Hricko. “I used to babysit for a child with a brain injury who, now as an adult, can seem intoxicated to the public from his special needs,” said Sgt. Hricko. Understanding these concerns, as well as the fear that a loved one may wander off and not know to which address to return home, Sgt. Hricko’s heart for this program makes it easy to single-handedly manage the community’s engagement. From making home visits and sitting with residents as they piloted the fresh variation of “Take Me Home,” to now making phone calls to talk residents through any questions or concerns, Sgt. Hricko is happy to support his community through this exciting new milestone in law enforcement communications.
After a full year of researching the program’s success in other cities, contacting necessary agencies about the upcoming project and going through the proper chain of commands, building and implementing “Take Me Home” took only about 10 weeks and went live on Nov. 30th, 2020. In addition to their mental health curriculum, “Take Me Home” will now be included in trainings conducted by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department.
Now more than a month into the program, Kristen Stack, Project Manager on ImageSoft’s Professional Services team, exclaimed that, “Everyone is really excited to see the good coming from this project. It’s good to know that people, who may have not had the means to effectively communicate with law enforcement, are now returning home safely.”