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Bristol police to soon implement lock box program

In Bristol, police will soon begin placing lock boxes on homes where the occupants want rescue personnel to be able to enter in a time of need. (WJAR)

A $30 lock box could save someone’s life.

In Bristol, police will soon begin placing lock boxes on homes where the occupants want rescue personnel to be able to enter in a time of need.

Sgt. Ricardo Mourato came up with the idea because of what he’s encountered in the field.

“The person who needs the help cannot get to the door,” he told NBC 10 News. Sometimes, we can actually hear them on the other side of the door, telling us, ‘I’m on the kitchen floor,’ for example, which was one of the incidents we had recently.”

In a situation like that, he said the only recourse is to kick down the door, causing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of damage, and costing time, which could worsen a medical situation.

“The process to kick down the door takes time,” Mourato said. “We have to find out first if there’s a key holder in the area, and then wait for them to arrive.”

Instead, police will soon have the code to a lock box on the property, for those people who want to participate in the program. The lock box, which currently realtors use to allow people access to properties, is opened by a code, and a house key is inside the box.

“It will be a secured system where the police will be the only ones who have the combination to that lockbox, not even the homeowner will have the combination,” Mourato said.

That way, someone will not have used the key and forgotten to put it back.

The fire department already has experience with lock boxes, according to Chief James Vieira. He said it is an “excellent idea.”

“I’ve gone in to do smoke detector inspections and the real estate agent couldn’t make it,” Vieira said. “They give me the key, the code to get in, and we just went in, lock it up, spin the dial and that was it. We were in the house in a matter of a minute.”

Mourato said other police departments have already expressed interest in the program. He expects the idea will spread once his department begins using the lockboxes.

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