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AWARE Program Update

Last August, CIPF partnered with the Avon Police Department to help launch the department’s AWARE Program. This program is “a campaign to raise awareness of cognitive disabilities and medical-related impairments to first responders when it matters most.” Eligible participants can get a sticker that can be placed on a car or home window that “serve as an indicator that first responders may likely interact with an individual with a cognitive disorder.” CIPF has been working with Deputy Chief of Police Brian J. Nugent who has been learning the program. The following is an interview with Deputy Chief of Police Nugent on how the program is going and growing to help serve local citizens. If you’d like more information about the AWARE program you can visit  https://awareprogram.info/ or to donate to the program visit https://cipf.foundation/aware/.


CIPF: What is the AWARE program and how has it grown since it launched?


Deputy Chief of Police Nugent: “The program is a simple campaign to facilitate decals on vehicles and residences to help first responders identify situations where they may have a higher likelihood of encountering an individual with a cognitive disability/disorder.  For individuals that may

struggle with an ability to comprehend, communicate, or comply, we hope that the program will empower first responders to be patient and intentional in their encounters with such individuals.”



What are the steps for getting a sticker?

“Residents would need to encourage their local police/fire agency to join the program.  The program is free to the agency and the resident.  The agency would visit the website www.awareprogram.info and download the agency agreement form and send that to the email address provided on the website.  Upon receipt of that agreement, we would send the image file of the emblem to that agency that  they could take wherever they want to print and pass out to their community members.  Community members would also go to the website and download the medical professional referral form.  Once signed by a medical professional, they would take that form to the participating agency and receive a sticker in exchange for the form.”


What kind of training are law enforcement officers or other first responders provided with or given for this program?

“There is not a particular training that we provide.  The training already exists within the law enforcement basic mandated training for mental health.  This campaign only helps to identify those situations/individuals so that first responders can be more intentional in the deployment of that pre-existing training.”


How has CIPF helped with this program?

“CIPF has helped launch the program by funding the pilot program here in Hendricks County, purchasing over 3,000 stickers and the launching the website.  CIPF is currently setup to accept donations in support of the program to help fund the stickers for agencies within the jurisdiction of the foundation.”


Where would you like to see this program go in the future?

“We would like to see the program become a state-wide platform for first responders.  Our program is driven by the concepts of mental health awareness and de-escalation.”


What can people do if they want to help get involved or support AWARE

“People who want to support the program can do so, buy requesting that their local police agencies begin participating in the program.  People can also donate through the CIPF where they can make a tax deductible contribution to help fund the production and stickers for those in need, here in Central Indiana.”

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