Pennsylvania State Police Launch Safety Initiative for Individuals with Autism

Pennsylvania State Police

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has unveiled a crucial safety tool aimed at fostering safer interactions between law enforcement officers and individuals with autism. This initiative involves the distribution of informational cards that individuals with autism are encouraged to carry and present during encounters with police officers.

Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, emphasized the importance of this new resource by stating, “Behaviors associated with autism can cause barriers to effective communication. This card can be presented to reduce those barriers. When an officer is made aware a person has autism, they can respond accordingly, resulting in a safer interaction for everyone involved.”

The informational card is designed to alert officers to the person’s autism spectrum disorder and explain why they might exhibit behaviors such as being nonverbal, showing sensitivity to loud noises or touch, or not responding to commands or questions. The guidance provided on the card instructs officers to exercise patience, communicate in a calm and direct voice, and simplify their questions and commands.

This initiative follows discussions between Colonel Paris, Governor Shapiro, and advocates on improving law enforcement’s ability to serve individuals with autism effectively. Developed by PSP’s Office of Community Engagement, the card is accessible for download from the Safety Resources page of PSP’s website. Individuals can print the card to keep in their wallets or save a digital copy on their smartphones for easy access. Additionally, troopers will distribute these cards at various public community events.

The introduction of these informational cards signifies a significant step forward in ensuring that interactions between police officers and individuals with autism are handled with the necessary understanding and care. By equipping officers with the knowledge to recognize and adapt to the unique challenges faced by individuals with autism, the PSP aims to enhance the safety and well-being of all parties involved.

READ:  Shapiro Administration Reinforces Efforts to Secure Pennsylvania Elections

This effort underscores a broader commitment by the Pennsylvania State Police to foster inclusive, informed, and compassionate law enforcement practices. It also serves as a model for how police departments across the country can work proactively to address the needs of diverse communities and ensure that all citizens, regardless of their condition or circumstances, feel safe and respected in their encounters with law enforcement.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.