Special Needs Registry - FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who should register?
A: Any city resident of any age who has a communication issue, autism, or related disorder. Any city resident, of any age, with a disability that limits their ability to speak, hear, communicate or respond to instructions in a typical manner. For example, people with autism and related disabilities, people who are Deaf/hard of hearing, as well as those with intellectual and speech disabilities.
Q: Is registration mandatory?
A: No. This is a completely voluntary program. We created the program to help our first responders better communicate with our residents whose abilities to communicate may be limited due to their disability.
Q: Do I have to live within the city limits to participate?
A: Yes. This is a city of Tampa program to provide valuable information to first responders within the city.
Q: What if my grandchild or niece or nephew visit me often, but do not live full time in the city?
A: You can still register a child or vulnerable adult if they routinely spend time with you at a residence in the city.
Q: Will this program help first responders find my child if he/she gets lost?
A: Yes. The registration form includes a space to provide information about where a child or vulnerable adult might wander. Additionally, we recommend signing up for the Safety Net Tracking system (https://safetynettracking.com) if you have concerns about a wandering risk.
Q: Once I provide information, where does it go?
A: The information will be entered into a secure database that is available to first responders in the city of Tampa.
Q: Who will have access to this information?
A: The information that you provide will be made available only to Tampa Police and Tampa Fire Rescue.
Q: How will first responders use the information?
A: When first responders are called to a residence they will be able to access this information even before they arrive. They will know that someone at that residence might have difficulty communicating with them, and they can prepare to come up with strategies for communicating. For instance, a police officer might otherwise be suspicious or become frustrated when someone won’t respond to questions or make eye contact.
Q: What if some of the information changes? For instance, what if we move to a different address? Or what if my child’s appearance changes as he/she gets older?
A: We will send out reminders, requesting that the information be updated on an annual basis. If we don’t hear back from you in two years, the information will be deleted and you will be notified that it is being deleted.
Q: Is the registry for people with autism?
A: It is. But it is not limited to people with autism. It is for anyone who lives in the city of Tampa who has a special need that might make it difficult for them to communicate with police. The registration form includes a list of several special needs and/or disabilities that might want to be in the registry.