SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Surfside Beach Police Department is upgrading its dispatch system with several new features to assist officers with day-to-day duties.
Officers in Surfside Beach have been going through training on this new $24,000 system, which was officially installed Thursday afternoon.
The new system will give officers more information when responding to calls, allow dispatchers to locate nearby officers for quicker response times and offer a feature notifying police if a child with special needs lives at the home they might be called out to.
There will also be a senior alert program to ensure the safety and well-being of those in the later stages of life who might not have family or caretakers nearby.
"They basically just received a little red alert box and they are able to click that box and see that someone there who (has) special needs, so they can tell the officer that while they're en route. That goes together with some new training programs we are doing," Capt. Arron Miller said.
In 2016, Surfside Beach became the first autism-friendly travel destination, something very important to local officers.
Becky Large is a mother of two. Her oldest son is 14 years old and on the autism spectrum.
"Having the first responders know to come to our house without the lights, without the sirens, without banging on the door, a more laid-back entry, it would really help to reduce anxiety and help deal with the emergency," Large said.
Both the senior alert and special needs program is open to residents in Surfside Beach.
Those who are interested will be able to register their information at the SBPD or just by giving them a call.