New SPD program aims to ease situations for those with cognitive disorders

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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said they formalized the policies and procedures of Project HELP, which stands for Help Emergency Life Plan, just this week.

“A successful police department looks different ways to different people,” Flores said. “And so we want to make sure that we work with the community to address all of their needs, with them.”

Citizens can now go to the SPD website and fill out a form which tells police any cognitive impairments they might encounter with someone on a call, along with things that may concern or scare that person and caretaker information.

“We don’t want to treat them like a criminal,” Flores said. “We want to treat them with respect and dignity. And this helps us get there quicker.”

City Councilor Shawn Teamann said it’s a program the Texoma Behavioral Health Leadership Team, a local group of community leaders such as himself, has been working on for several months.

He told us mental illness touches three out of four people in one way or another, and he’s one of them.

“Me with my family member I would want them to have that information,” Teamann said. “Just to make sure that everybody stayed safe and they were kind of aware what was going on when they arrived on scene.”

Citizens and family members of citizens with cognitive disorders can also print off the form and bring it to the police department in person.