Lebanon Police Chief Chad Morgan is pleased to announce the Lebanon Police Department is the latest agency to join the AWARE campaign.

Created in 2021 by the Avon, Indiana Police Department, AWARE is a campaign to raise awareness of cognitive disabilities and medical-related impairments to officers when it matters most. The AWARE program is a de-escalation and mental health awareness initiative created by law enforcement for all first responders to proactively identify individuals who may struggle with an ability to comprehend, communicate, or comply with first responders.

AWARE facilitates a quick and readily identifiable 4” emblem/sticker that can be placed on vehicles and residences to serve as an indicator that first responders may likely interact with an individual with a cognitive disorder. Agencies that join the AWARE campaign are required to obtain a medical professional referral from a physician before providing the emblems/stickers to their clients. Caregivers can take comfort is knowing that communities and first responders who support the AWARE program help to foster a more informed and intentional effort when engaging with their loved ones.

AWARE was developed as a tool to help educate law enforcement officers that they may be engaging a motorist, passenger, or resident that has a cognitive disability. The AWARE logo facilitates officers a quick and easy way to identify the potential that they may be encountering an individual who is less likely to understand, comprehend, or engage officers in what may be typically received as a normal or expectant fashion.

Officers are dispatched to calls for service on a daily basis, and they regularly encounter an overabundance of unknown factors. AWARE aims to reduce unnecessary use of force by officers who may reasonably misinterpret the actions of a cognitively disabled individual.