Cranston police have begun special training to help them work better with people with autism. The training is geared toward preventing a police encounter from escalating.
Every Cranston police officer will be trained to recognize the signs of autism. And they’ll be equipped to respond to emergencies involving adults or kids with autism. Cranston police Lieutenant Mark Freeborn says the training should help avoid the misinterpretation that autistic behavior is disobedient, or aggressive.
“We try to emphasize that communication is the key. And sometimes you need to be more patient with individuals with autism to have that situation not escalate to the point where something negative happens.”
The police estimate encounters with people with autism are rising. Freeborn says Cranston officers are also receiving ongoing training in responding to mental health crises.
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