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BREVARD COUNTY — In an effort to better serve its residents, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has launched an innovative program designed to assist citizens with autism, hearing impairment and other conditions during interaction with law enforcement.

The “C.H.A.N.C.E. Alert” card (Citizen Has A Noticeable Crisis Episode) was inspired by Ashyton Chance Stone, an Eagle Scout and personal friend of Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. The card was initiated on February 1.

Citizens can pick up a C.H.A.N.C.E. Alert card by visiting one of five Brevard County Sheriff’s Office with proper identification or a legal guardian who can verify the identity of the person who will be in possession of the card.

“All too often our deputies and team members encounter one of our citizens of all ages who has a disorder, medical condition or disability that may cause them to not respond appropriately to a law enforcement officer’s directions or instructions,” said Sheriff Ivey in a video presented online for BCSO.

Sheriff Ivey continued to explain that the BCSO frequently trains for an encounter with someone who has a type of disorder that may limit their ability to communicate with law enforcement.

“It is extremely helpful for us to have additional insight into the characteristics of the citizens we are engaged with so that we can avoid any type of misunderstanding or misreading of a citizen’s response to our directions,” Sheriff Ivey added.

The C.H.A.N.C.E. Alert card asks for a citizen’s name, address, phone number, date of birth, emergency contact name and phone number.

On the back of the card, a space is allocated for citizens to write their condition. Bullet points state that a disorder or medical condition may, “Hinder my ability to understand directions, express myself or make eye contact,” “I may become non-verbal or uncommunicative,” “I may become overwhelmed or anxious in stressful situations or with loud noises and lights,” and “My behavior may appear confusing or threatening” among other notes.

“The alert card is designed to immediately be presented to law enforcement, so they are aware that the citizen has a noticeable crisis episode that qualifies them to have the C.H.A.N.C.E. alert card,” Sheriff Ivey said. “And like anything else in our world, effective communication is the key to success.”

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office precincts are located at:

2290 Columbia Blvd., Titusville, 32780.

2575 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island, 32953.

111 Polk Ave., Cape Canaveral, 32920.

2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Melbourne, 32940.

1515 Sarno Road, Building B, Melbourne, 32935.

For more information, visit www.brevardsheriff.com.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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