GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is working to improve how they handle missing persons cases and they need your help.
The office launched a new tool called “Operation Safe Outcomes’ — a voluntary registry for vulnerable people. It’s essentially a database filled with information and profiles of people deemed vulnerable. The goal is to better assist law enforcement officers when responding to service calls.
Sheriff Hobart Lewis said the sheriff’s office handles about eight to ten missing person cases per month. Not all of them are for vulnerable people, but with these new changes implemented they’ve been 100% successful at finding the individuals reported missing.
“If somebody has somebody missing, whether it’s a child or otherwise, they deserve to have a deputy at their door asking them where were they last seen and how can we help locate this person,” Sheriff Lewis said.
The term ‘vulnerable person’ applies to those who might have Alzheimer’s disease, autism, are blind, or have a mental illness.
“There has never been a more critical time in our society in terms of the way law enforcement and the public interact,” Sheriff Lewis said. “This resource is such an incredible, valuable tool that will immediately enhance our deputy’s education regarding these types of calls.”
Captain Dallas Gladson said the idea came from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, but was revamped it to fit the needs of Greenville County.
“We changed some of the categories that they had to make it more beneficial for us such as having the administrator being able to add notes,” Gladson explained. “Adding locations whether it’s a house or an apartment. We also added a category such as hospital preference for people we may come in contact with.”
“They’ll be able to see the person’s picture. They’ll also have a contact information, the person’s name, what their diagnosis is, their disability, the date that it was entered, what their address is, physical description and then there’s also special information,” Captain Gladson said. “This information here is what’s really going to help us.”
You can also add things like clothing typically worn, approach suggestions, or trigger words to avoid.
“So prior to getting on scene, if we know this information and we know words that we can stay away from then we’re not going to use those words,” Captain Gladson said. “If we have some words then we may be able to use to build a rapport with them.”
The tool also applies to every municipality within Greenville County.
“Traveler’s Rest, Greer, Simpsonville, Mauldin,” Captain Gladson added. “All of those police departments have access to this program. EMS has access to this program. All of the fire departments in Greenville County have access to this program.”
Captain Gladson said they expect the new tool to take off.
“I think the key is really just getting the word out about the program and having people register because without that it’s not going to be very successful,” said Captain Gladson.
‘Operation Safe Outcomes’ is live now and enrollment is free.
Once you enter information, you’ll be reminded every six months to update that information. If you do update a profile, it will be renewed for another two years. If you do not, you’ll be purged out of the system.
To learn more about ‘Operation Safe Outcomes’ or to sign up, click here.