Oct 19, 2023, Payson (AZ) Payson Roundup: Payson police department now a certified autism center https://www.paysonroundup.com/news/local/payson-police-department-now-a-certified-autism-center/article_f8602697-6412-59a6-8688-d88dd85dc4a2.html
The Payson Police Department is now an official Certified Autism Center, thanks to the MHA Foundation.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards recognized that the Payson Police Department has trained in autism intervention and strategies….
“We would like to thank everyone for the ability to bring this to our community,” wrote Chief Ron Tischer in a press release. “This opportunity allowed us to obtain further training in autism and how to effectively handle situations for those who have autism or other developmental disorders. This is training that is long overdue for such an underserved portion of our community.”
Incidents between police and people with autism have increased, reported IBCCES.
“There are more than 2.5 million people in the United States that are diagnosed with autism,” wrote the organization on its website.
Autism is often diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder that further complicates interactions between police and those with the disabilities, wrote staff for the organization Autism Speaks. …
“These boys with autism…are getting arrested for meltdowns and behavior that can be avoided if the schools know how to react,” said the parent on the Autism Speaks website.
The autism training provides officers the tools to deescalate a situation.
Without those tools, a study found officers did not seek information about the behavior 99% of the time. Nor did they reassure an individual, ask for assistance from bystanders, consider the situation resulted from a disability or even considered autism as a reason for the unexpected behavior.
“Now that we know that autism is common, and comes in all the hues and shades of a broad human spectrum, we need to give law enforcement officers the knowledge that they need to avoid turning a routine call into a life-altering calamity,” said Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.”…
Tischer said all staff “both civilian and sworn” have completed the training.