A New Jersey police department is equipping its patrol cars with new “Emergency Sensory Tool Kits” and training for officers aimed at improving its response to situations involving people with autism or other special needs.
“You hear these police stories where departments are ill-equipped to deal with people who have mental health issues or learning disabilities, or in a lot of cases, autistic people who were misinterpreted,” Roselle Park Police Chief Daniel McCaffery told Fox News Saturday. “This kind of training in these kind of tools can only help us to better serve the public.”
The idea emerged during Autism Awareness Month last week when Officer Jessica Diaz approached the chief with her proposal, McCaffery said.
“She approached me and asked if she could look into it and move forward with it,” he said. “And once she gave me a presentation, I said absolutely.”
The issue touched close to home for several people in the department, including the chief himself, who have family members