SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday a new program that’s rolling out soon – called the Blue Envelope Program – which will serve as an enhanced communication awareness tool between law enforcement agencies and people diagnosed with a condition or disability.
Individuals who wish to use the program can use a blue envelope, bracelet, lanyard, seat belt cover or button — something with the blue envelope logo — to let law enforcement know they need added assistance during a service call or emergency.
On the envelope, there are instructions on official items to put inside, along with important information on the outside, letting deputies and officers know more about the person they’re interacting with.
“If you are in contact with a law enforcement officer, you have a need, maybe you’re in distress, and you need help from law enforcement, if you will hand that blue envelope to them as soon as the contact is initiated, that’s the best-use scenario. We immediately know what we’ve got, what we’re dealing with, who we’re talking to,” Sheriff Kelly Martinez said.
The sheriff’s department is teaming up with other local law enforcement agencies and county supervisors who will vote Tuesday to implement the Blue Envelope Program.
“Communication with law enforcement has been kind of strained here lately, unfortunately. But I think that any tool that we can get that communication level up with people that are interacting in daily with law enforcement, the better, and particularly those with disabilities,” County Supervisor Jim Desmond said.
The program is free, voluntary and set to begin Oct. 16.
Martinez says the program will be a part of deputies’ ongoing training.
“We understand and we know that in this day and age we need to be more receptive and we’re understanding, we’re communicating with folks, before we take action. So this is just another way to speed those things up, to speed up that interaction,” Martinez said.