APPLETON — The Appleton Police Department has launched a program to give first responders critical background when responding to calls involving residents with with dementia, autism or other cognitive impairments.

Project Safe Response allows members of our community living with dementia, autism or other cognitive impairments and their caregivers an opportunity to proactively provide critical information to first responders so they can be more informed when responding to critical calls for service.

The program is a collaborative program between police, the Fox Valley Memory Project and the Outagamie County Aging and Disability Resource Center.

The program will be maintained by the Appleton Police Department, and community members can enroll in the program by first filling out an informational packet and then setting up an intake meeting, according to a news release.

The forms are available at the Appleton Police Department, FVMP, the ADRC or online at

The information provided to the program will serve as an alert to first responders and include any relevant information necessary to facilitate a safe and effective response in the case of a critical incident.

“Project Safe Response is a huge step forward in helping to alert first responders that a person in need may have dementia, and may need additional attention during the call”, Mike Rohrkaste, Fox Valley Memory Project said. “Emergency situations are traumatic for everyone and particularly for people with dementia, so having an advance alert better prepares first responders for when they arrive on the scene.”

Law enforcement often responds to missing, lost and confused or wandering individuals within the city.

“Having a program like Project Safe Response in the community will assist in faster response time to those living with dementia as we know that time duration is critical for first responders and those living with dementia in critical situations. Communities like Appleton are moving in the right direction with programs like Project Safe Response as the prevalence of this disease is growing and will grow drastically in the years to come.” Said Carrie Esselman from the Outagamie County Aging and Disability Resource Center.

“Project Safe Response is a program that will better equip our officers to respond to persons with different cognitive impairments”, said Sgt. Carrie Peters of the Appleton Police Department. “In turn, this will help community members living with dementia or other cognitive impairments and their caregivers feel more comfortable utilizing emergency services in Appleton. Additionally, the intake process for the program will help connect people and families with other community resources they may benefit from.”

“It is great to see community partners such as the Appleton Police Department, Fox Valley Memory Project, and the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Outagamie County come together for such a worthwhile project for our residents who are living through Dementia and other cognitive impairments. The collaboration is an important step in responding to the unique needs in our community,” said Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson.



Paid Partnership

By staff