CONCORD — Chief Joseph O’Connor is pleased to announce that the Concord Police Department will be conducting outreach to community members impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Concord Police will invite residents with ASD, as well as parents or caregivers, to tour the police station and meet with officers. The meetings will allow officers to get to know members of the community who live with autism in order to better serve them should they come into contact during an emergency or other call for service.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an average of one in 68 children in the U.S. have an ASD that can cause signiﬁcant social, communication and behavioral challenges. These challenges often present unique safety risks, which may increase the chance of encounters with police and other ﬁrst responders.
Concord Police have begun utilizing the National Autism Association’s Meet The Police program, which encourages parents and caregivers to complete a “meet sheet” that will form the basis of a more trusting relationship between law enforcement and those affected by ASD.
While April is Autism Awareness Month, the department’s Meet The Police program runs year-round.
“Our officers recognize the unique circumstances faced by individuals with autism and their families,” Chief O’Connor said. “I encourage residents to come meet our officers and learn about how we can work together to support their loved ones. I also want to thank Officer Tim Landers, who has a child with an ASD, for coordinating these efforts and sharing his passion for assisting others.”
In addition, officers will be conducting training throughout the month on how to recognize and interact with someone on the autism spectrum. They will also be showing their support for members of the autism community by wearing blue “Autism Speaks” pins on their uniforms.
Concord Police will also work to raise autism awareness by displaying blue lights in the police station windows throughout the month of April. On April 2, at 7:30 p.m., Concord Police will participate in the nationwide awareness initiative, “Light It Up Blue.” At that time, a Public Safety Dispatcher will announce to all patrols who are not handling an active call to pull to the side of the road in and activate their cruiser’s blue lights for one minute to raise awareness as part of National Autism Awareness Month and the World Awareness Day.
To download a “meet sheet” and begin the process of arranging a tour of the police station, please click here.
To view the Press Release on the Police Department's blog, please click here.