Special Needs Registry

The City of St. Cloud is currently working to update this program to better reflect the language and intent of recently-enacted State legislation, Florida Statute 402.88 – the "Protect Our Loved Ones Act." [LINK]

The St. Cloud Police Department continues to work for a safer, and more inclusive interaction with the community, especially including those with developmental, psychological, or other disabilities or conditions that may be relevant to their interaction with law enforcement.

Graphic depiction of a police badge, featuring a variety of differently-abled people.The St. Cloud Police Department is understanding and accepting of those on the autism spectrum. We have created a Special Needs Registry to compile and maintain a list of individuals with "special needs" due to mental or neurological disabilities who may reside or frequently visit the City of St. Cloud. People with autism may have difficulty understanding social cues and responding to unexpected situations, which could lead to misunderstandings with police officers.

Residents are invited to proactively provide information about a loved one with special needs of any age who may require special assistance in an emergency or interaction with St. Cloud Police Officers. Registration is completely voluntary. None of the fields on the form are mandatory, and the information you choose to disclose is completely voluntary. 

Here are some tips for parents or caregivers of those with autism on how to make police encounters less stressful:

  • Be prepared. If you know your child or loved one is likely to encounter the police, talk to them about what to expect and how to behave. You can also provide the police with information about your child's autism before they meet.
  • Accompany your child or loved one. If possible, accompany your child or loved one when they encounter the police. This will help to de-escalate the situation and provide support for your child or loved one.
  • Be calm and respectful. If you are interacting with the police, be calm and respectful. This will help to create a positive and cooperative environment.
  • Explain your child's autism. If police officers do not understand autism, explain it to them. This will help them to understand your child's behavior and respond in a more appropriate way.
  • Be patient. It may take time for police officers to understand your child's autism. Be patient and understanding, and work with them to resolve the situation.

By following these tips, you can help to make police encounters less stressful for people with autism.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Who is eligible? 

The registry has been developed with the intent to serve all members (adult or juvenile) of our community or people who frequent our community and have a special need and want to register with the St. Cloud Police Department. 

How to register 

To register for the Special Needs Registry, complete the Special Needs Registry Form and turn it into the St. Cloud Police Department. Parents and caregivers may enroll a person of any age with any type of medical condition or disability, including but not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer's or Dementia, Bipolar Disorder, and Down Syndrome. Adults with special needs may also enroll themselves. 

What happens once the person is registered? 

When an officer has contact with the person on this form, our dispatch center can provide the officer with the information needed to successfully interact and communicate with your loved one, as well as provide us with your contact information. 

Who has access to my child's profile? 

St. Cloud Police personnel who require this information in the performance of their duties will have access to the information. There are strict regulations concerning accessing and disseminating information. The sharing of this information with other police agencies during an emergency can be helpful when a person is registered with the St. Cloud Police Department but wanders off in another jurisdiction.

Can I update my profile if there are changes? How do I do that? 

You may, however, only information that significantly impacts policing response will be necessary. Examples include a change in address, school, or emergency contact. You do not need to report a haircut or color change, for example, as the police are familiar with the changes that can be made and are more likely to notice height, weight , and eye color. Changes can be made on a new registry form and returned to the Police Department lobby. You may also email an updated registrant’s photo to ceunit@stcloudfl.gov

After my child/dependent adult is registered, and if there is an incident, do I need to do something to inform the police? 

It is preferable that you let the dispatcher or police officer know that the individual is already registered. In doing so, the information will be immediately disseminated to on-duty patrol vehicles without having to ask the parents/guardians during a high-stress situation. 

How will this registry help if my child/dependent adult goes missing? 

If the individual is reported missing by the parent/guardian, information about his/her physical appearance, the most likely places where he/she would go to, as well as triggers, stimulants, and de-escalation techniques, will be sent to police officers in the area to look for the missing person. If the individual has not been reported missing and is incapable of effectively communicating his/her name to an officer, a computer check of the neighborhood for registrants, coupled with the physical appearance, may allow us to identify the individual more quickly. This will allow us to use the contact information to connect with the parents/guardians. 

As soon as I register, will the information be immediately available if a police response is required? 

No. The registration form will need to be entered to capture all relevant information. The process may take up to two (2) weeks to fully process. You will receive decals to display, one for your vehicle and one for your home. The small decal is to be placed on the back driver’s side rear window, down towards the bottom, and the larger decal is to be displayed on or near the front door of your residence. Placement is important so all St. Cloud First Responders know a registrant could be in the vehicle or home.