Former Minneapolis police chief is joining Vitals app team

The app helps officers interact better with people with disabilities.

Former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau is expanding her career since resigning from the department in July

Since leaving the department, Harteau began advertising consulting services on her website, and now she's been named the chief public safety strategist at Vitals

Vitals is a company that designed an app to help police better interact with people who have "invisible disabilities" that can make it harder for them to communicate (more on how Vitals works below), a news release says

Harteau will help with the rollout of the app in Minnesota and the U.S., including overseeing and establishing partnerships between police departments and Vitals. She'll also create a best practices for police department on-boarding, training and policy development. 

The former chief says she's "thrilled" to be part of Vitals, calling it a "game changer" that will save lives. 

“First responders will have access to critical information needed to respond most effectively. Our most vulnerable community will be less fearful if they come into contact with a police officer," Harteau said in the release. 

The St. Paul Police Department became the first in the nation to start using the Vitals app, and now Vitals says other departments, including Roseville, New Brighton and the Three Rivers Park District, are all using the app, with others in Minnesota planning to implement it in the coming months. 

How does Vitals work?

A vulnerable person or their caregiver can create a Vitals profile, which includes information that could be helpful to police or first responders. 

Such information can include de-escalation techniques, behavior triggers, medical information, and caregiver contact information. 

The person with a Vitals profile then carries around a beacon (it can be a card, button or a phone app). When the beacon is within 30-80 feet of an officer with the Vitals First Responder app, the officer will get an alert.

The officer will then be able to see all the information in the person's Vitals profile.

The idea is that the officer will already have important information about the person they're trying to help. This can help reduce or avoid conflicts and get the person the help they need.

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