Police officers training involves criminal matters with some training in social services. This training will vary. More and more police departments are having units or officers with more in-depth training in developmental and intellectual disabilities like autism and mental health issues. If you live in a fairly small town. It definitely does not hurt to have your police department get acquainted with your autistic child, especially if they have behavioral problems or elopement.
A few things to help or know about regarding police interaction. Many of these points are covered in other sections of this website but are all put together here:
- It helps to have a current picture of your child in digital form on USB thumb drive. If your autistic child has the propensity to elope or get lost, take a picture of him every day with the clothes he will be wearing and items he will have such as a backpack.
-If your child is transported by a police car, they will almost always handcuff him or her. Police prefer other transportation means such as ambulances for non-criminal offenses.
-Police and ambulances can take people directly to the emergency room by passing the emergency room waiting room.
-Police are reluctant to declare a mental hold on someone as this is not a criminal offense. They would rather wait for social services to do this. It also reduces the amount of paperwork they have to do.
-If your autistic child is over the age of 18, it is good to have a letter of conservatorship or guardianship on you such as a pdf on your phone.
- If behaviors happen in public, do not be surprised if someone calls the police even if the behavior is under control from your perspective. There can be some initial suspicion of abduction by the public or police especially if a male is involved. If you are reading this, you already know that the public opinion of what you should be doing or what is happening will run the gamut.
All my interactions with me, my son and police have been good.