Logan’s Law: Dunwoody police adopt program to better handle special needs calls

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Dunwoody police are the latest agency to adopt a program known as Logan’s Law.

The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 631 to create a database meant to help first responders handle calls involving people with special needs.

While the law passed and took effect in 2021, the governor’s office said the rollout of it was staggered out, depending on the law enforcement agency.

Sgt. Michael Cheek of the Dunwoody Police Department can’t help but think of his son when talking about the importance of the law.

He’s 13 and lives with autism.

“And if you’re not careful, and you don’t know, you could unintentionally overstimulate someone and make that interaction a bit more difficult,” he told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims.

HB 631 created a database called “Logan’s List,” allowing law enforcement agencies to collect information about people with physical, mental or neurological conditions.

The information in Logan’s List is voluntarily submitted by those whose loved ones meet that criteria as a way for officers and other first responders to know that if they’re answering a call for help involving those people, they know how to approach it without overwhelming or triggering the individuals in need.

Some of the conditions that may be entered for people on Logan’s List include autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear of lights, sirens, or loud noises, and personnel in uniform, among others.

In examples of forms for different law enforcement agencies, such as the Dunwoody Police Department, the Conyers Police Department , and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, those submitting the forms on behalf of their family members can list what school the relative goes to, as well as where they work, what they look like and what conditions, medications and sensitivities they may have.

“This is what they like, this is what they don’t like, these are the things they’re sensitive to,” Cheek said. “Here’s how you can talk to them. Here’s their favorite places to go.”

There’s even a section for potential triggers that could cause an interaction with law enforcement or first responders to escalate, as well as a section for emergency contacts.

You can access the form on the City of Dunwoody’s website.

“So knowing that information about their loved ones can make these interactions go a lot smoother, be a lot more positive, and be resolved much more quickly,” Cheek said. “It gives you a better idea of how to interact with them.”

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