DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Law enforcement officers from 11 separate North Texas agencies attended a training course on Tuesday morning in downtown Dallas. The motivation behind this eight-hour course was to help the officers develop a better understanding of autism.
The officers were trained in how to respond, communicate and react in various situations. That included strategies that police officers could use to de-escalate situations that involved people with autism, and how to better interview suspects, victims or witnesses with autism.
The teacher of the class was Bart Barta, a former police commander. He said that it is vital to discuss self-regulating behavior and sensory processing challenges. And, in certain situations, these tools can prove useful in crisis situations or in establishing better relations between police officers and the community.
Skills like these could also lead to a better response in missing person cases or runaway situations.
“It’s going to help parents, caregivers and educators have a better understanding and appreciation for police,” Barta said, “and feel comfortable knowing that, if they come in contact with a law enforcement officer, that [officers] won’t misinterpret their behavior or communication, and it will be a positive interaction.”