On the morning of Feb. 18, 2017, the Hartford Police Department received a call from a person claiming to be from the Department of Transportation.
According to a release, the caller was reporting a traffic incident and needed to leave the area immediately because of a roadblock.
The driver was arrested the next day and later charged with a misdemeanor, causing injury and failing to comply with a court order.
A search of the man’s car turned up an estimated $2,000 in cash and a loaded .45 caliber revolver, which he said he carried for protection.
He was arrested again and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and failure to appear.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) had just opened a new office to help local law enforcement agencies respond to such incidents.
They wanted to give Hartford residents a chance to get back to their cars and get help before it was too late.
The office opened on Feb. 22, 2017.
As part of the program, officers will assist people who have a “significant physical injury or condition” in the Hart-Elmore area.
The person is required to come to the office, and if they are unable to get to a hospital, they will be allowed to leave and call 911.
In some instances, the officer will help them get a ride home, if possible, and help them pay for their own trip home.
The Hartford police department is also assisting with the deployment of “HARTFORD ASSISTANCE” signs on city streets, and on a small portion of Highway 80.
As the number of people needing help grows, Hartford has partnered with several other cities to help them.
In May 2017, Hartfords Department of Emergency Services (DES) issued a request for assistance, which was accepted by a local company.
On Jan. 5, 2018, a team of city and county staff was assigned to help Hartford.
A month later, they received a letter from the DHS asking for help from the city and County of Hartford to expand the program to all other cities.
On Feb. 24, 2018 the department received a request from the Hartfolds Homeland Security Office, which is coordinating the program.
The agency is currently working with the county to ensure the program will continue to expand.
On May 25, 2018 police officers responded to a call for help on Highway 80 and were able to identify the individual in the incident as the driver of a car that was stopped on the highway.
They then located the man in a nearby parking lot and took him into custody.
He is charged with criminal mischief and driving under the influence.
The county has said the man had been driving for three weeks and was not previously cited for any violations.
Hartford will soon begin offering the same assistance to other cities and counties.
“The Hartford Assisted Highway Assistance Program is one of the first of its kind in the nation,” DHS Director Jeff Hargrove said.
“We look forward to working with Hartford, the City of Hartfalls and other jurisdictions in the coming months to continue expanding the program.”
If you or someone you know needs help in an emergency, call the Hart Foundation’s helpline at 1-800-252-HART or go to HartfordAssisted.org.
Hartfills “Roadside Assist” program is a partnership between the Hart County Sheriff’s Office and the City and County.
The goal is to get Hartford citizens to the nearest hospital in time.
The department will provide first responders with an array of materials to help people get home safely and without causing any additional harm.
The resources will be distributed at the beginning of each shift.
“Hartford Assists” are designed to be used as a “one-time” program and do not require an appointment, but a short time frame is recommended.
Hartflills first responders will work with residents to gather as much information as possible.
Residents who are unsure of their location will be asked to leave their vehicles and contact police.
The city and the county will each get a share of the funds, which will be donated to the local police department.
“It is very important to us that the community be aware of our program, and we encourage everyone to be on the lookout for information about this initiative,” Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin O’Connor said.
Hart’s program is only a pilot, so there will be many more to come.
Hart officials say they will continue working with municipalities to expand it, and encourage everyone who needs help to call the department.
For more information about Hart’s Assisted Transportation program, go to https://www.hartfordassist.org/ or call the office at 1:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.o.m., or 1-866-527-0222.