This article isn’t for everyone. Most won’t care and won’t relate. However, if you have a family member with a certain condition that might make it hard for them to communicate with a first responder this can be a lifesaver and bring peace of mind.

I have two boys with autism ages 7 and 8. It’s a long way off, but if they someday can drive a car (I say “if” because for some the condition is severe enough that they just can’t) a thing I know I would worry about is how well could they communicate with a police officer in a traffic stop or an accident. Misunderstandings can happen, which may escalate into explosive situations.

hidesy GettyImages
hidesy GettyImages

Fortunately, more and more counties are setting up registries that people with disabilities can add themselves to in order to make things better and safer if they find they are interacting with a first responder.

It’s called the Blue Envelope Program and Gloucester is the latest county to get on board.

Formally called Special Needs Registry and Blue Envelope Program it encourages people with certain disabilities to sign up or have their family members to do it for them. The program has a driver compile all important documents and details about the disability which could be things like autism or deafness or diabetes. (For those who may not know, diabetes is on the list because when you suffer hypoglycemia you can become dazed and confused, slur your speech, not understand commands, etc..)


The information on the registry is available only to first responders and can help them try to better understand what’s happening in an interaction.

This information assists the officer and operator in establishing effective communication and reduces the likelihood of any misunderstanding,” the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

“The front of the envelope contains information for the operator/occupant on what to expect during a motor vehicle stop, and the back of the envelope contains a special needs awareness guide for police officers.

Traffic cop standing by sports car

Launching this Blue Envelope Program in Gloucester County was a joint effort between the prosecutor’s office, county government and emergency responders. Other counties doing similar things are Atlantic, Camden, Middlesex and Ocean.

And good for them. It’s keeping everyone safer. If you’re in Gloucester County and want information on the program you’ll find it here.

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