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Friday, April 8, 2016

Training Police in New Jersey

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between first responders and autistic people.  Police officers need training to respond appropriately.  When they do not, things get out of hand.

Bancroft, the largest nonprofit organization in New Jersey serving children and adults with autism and developmental and intellectual disabilities, has announced a year-long commitment to train police in communities where Bancroft facilities are located in techniques to de-escalate situations involving individuals with autism.
First to be trained are more than 200 Camden County police officers who will begin training during Autism Awareness Month in April.
Over the coming year, Bancroft will offer the training in the 15 host communities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware that are home to a Bancroft program facility or community-based group home. Bancroft has over 200 group homes located throughout the region.

When police are called in to help with a situation that involves a child or adult who has autism or related disability, we find that the level of understanding of the diagnosis and associated behaviors make a big difference on how the situation is addressed and the chances of de-escalation exponentially rise,” said Toni Pergolin, President and CEO at Bancroft.
Training will also be available through Community Solutions at Bancroft for private entities such as movie theatres, restaurants, and recreation/entertainment sites to offer sensitivity training. Contact Bancroft at 1-800 774-5516 or for information on training.
The effort has received a good deal of media coverage: