top of page

NYC: City council now requires autism training for police

May 4, 2023, Amsterdam (NY) News: Narcisse, City pass NYPD bill to recognize more NYers with autism

Spearheaded by Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse, the City Council passed a bill last week to require the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to train officers to be better at identifying and engaging appropriately with New Yorkers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as rates have risen in recent years.

“Requiring our police force to undergo such training could quite possibly save a life.

Traditional tactics and approaches that would work for neurotypical people may not work for people with autism spectrum disorder,” said Narcisse, who had a career as a nurse before taking office, in a statement.

The bill, Intro 273, was approved in a City Council hearing on April 27. The NYPD training will be incorporated into the academy’s processes for new recruits and all uniformed members will have it every other year….

According to the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, the prevalence of ASD has been trending up in the U.S. since 2000.

National CDC data from 2020 also suggests that autism is more prevalent among Black and Hispanic children than white children, and among households with lower incomes. These disparate gaps have narrowed over time, though, mostly due to more equitable identification of ASD.

An education and mental health study from the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), published in 2022, noted a rising trend of New Yorkers on the autism spectrum between 2015 and 2020. The number of adult people in the state with an ASD diagnosis can’t be totally quantified, said the study, because there is no requirement that a person report their diagnosis to the government. However, based on self-reported data, the instances of autism among individuals increased from 20,789 to 27,434 in that five-year span.

“The rate of autism diagnosis is on the rise, including on Staten Island,” said Councilmember Kamillah Hanks, who co-sponsored the bill. “Many of us, including myself, have family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues who are autistic New Yorkers, and it is a priority of mine to ensure their safety and well-being. This bill will provide the NYPD (with) training tools to maximize safety and respect for all autistic New Yorkers, as well as our police officers.”…

“While the NYPD currently does have trainings for officers on interacting with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, we were pleased to work with the City Council on this important legislation that will expand our training by requiring that officers receive it biennially, ensuring that they are up to date on the latest best practices,” said a police spokesperson by email.

bottom of page