Skip to main content

St. Paul police have a new app to help officers interact better with people with disabilities

It's the first department in the country to use this app.

St. Paul police are using a new app to help officers better recognize and interact with people who have behavioral, developmental and mental health disorders. 

The app is called Vitals, and it was made by a Minnesota company.

It's designed to help people who have "invisible disabilities" and aren't always able to communicate effectively. 

The app is designed to give police and first responders real-time information about vulnerable people who are nearby, including details about their conditions, triggers and de-escalation techniques, a news release says.

"The program gives our officers the information they need when responding to these difficult situations to better address those suffering from mental health crises, autism, dementia," St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said, according to FOX 9

And the St. Paul Police Department is the first agency in the U.S. to use this app, the release says. 

How it works

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

Then that person carries around a Vitals beacon (it can be a card, button or a phone app).

When the Vitals 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, the release says. 

How much does it cost? 

The St. Paul Police Department is using the program for free for the first two years (the department was part of a pilot program), the Pioneer Press says

Other police departments that choose to use the program will pay $5 a month per officer, the paper notes. 

As for people with disabilities who choose to create a profile, they'll pay $9.99 a month for the service, plus additional monty for the beacon. 

For more information on how it works – or to create a profile – click here

Next Up

Jaelyn Campbell

11-year-old girl missing from Mille Lacs County

Jaelyn Campbell was last seen in Onamia.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

2 ejected, 1 killed in crash that closed southbound I-35

The State Patrol says neither were wearing seat belts.

best buy

Best Buy makes job cuts weeks after warning of soft sales

The Richfield retailer has been dealing with a shift in consumer trends.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 10.26.20 PM

Man makes 'vague comments' about Jewish people, smashes own car with club

It happened at a course that was founded as a Jewish country club 100 years ago.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 9.59.07 PM

4 abandoned puppies found in a bucket in Willmar

The puppies were in good health when they were discovered.

Minneapolis police

Suspect of home invasion, murder in Minneapolis arrested in Wisconsin

There have been 57 deaths reported as homicides in Minneapolis this year.

Carson McCoy

Charges: Man stole handgun from house, fired at motorcyclists from car

A chaotic scene that led to a police chase unfolded after an alleged burglary in Ham Lake.

Mounds view 7 - crime scene

BCA's Uniform Crime Report shows violent crime in MN spiked in 2021

The report details violent crime trends in the seven-county metro and Greater Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 4.49.22 PM

Search for vulnerable man, 66, missing from Brooklyn Park

Alex Ramirez was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning.

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times writing staff hit by Gannett budget cuts

Mass layoffs were expected at Gannett-owned outlets across the country.


Pool company sued by AG for allegedly scamming homeowners out of $1M-plus

According to the lawsuit, 17 Minnesota homeowners were affected by this scam.


St. Paul police hope a new website will help build trust with the community

The department believes it's the first law enforcement agency in the country to issue this kind of progress report.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

More than 230,000 people have downloaded Minnesota's COVID exposure app

The more people who use the app, the more effective it is.

Former Minneapolis police chief is joining Vitals app team

The app helps officers interact better with people with disabilities.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

2 teens arrested after fleeing St. Paul police, hitting 2 officers

One of the teenagers is a suspect in an October shooting that injured a person's foot.