Southside Police Officers Receive Training About Autism


First responders have been trained to respond to numerous types of emergency calls throughout their careers. But, what most of them have not been trained on how to approach someone who has a disorder that makes it difficult for them to communicate or interact with others.

The City of Southside recognized that there was a need for their Officers to receive training on how to respond to people who have autism. Jacksonville State University's Center for Autism Studies helped educate officers about Autism Spectrum Disorder. During the training class held earlier today, video clips with different scenarios was just one of the many ways first responders learned what to be aware of when dealing with someone on the autism spectrum. Assistant Director Valerie Wheat says one in 59 children are diagnosed with autism and it’s important for officers to know how to treat people with this disorder.

Lieutenant Jay Freeman says the police department is very fortunate to have received this training. Freeman says this is just another way officers will be of service to the community.

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