Kupchick and Devlin advocate police training when handling special needs

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) supported and co-sponsored a proposal to better train police to be able to identify those with autism spectrum disorder or special needs and have them trained in ways to effectively and safely communicate with them.

The legislation, HB-6260, An Act Concerning Training Programs for State and Local Police Regarding the Elopement or Wandering of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder requires each police basic or field training program conducted or administered by the Division of State Police, Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), or a municipal police department provide a minimum of 27 hours of training relative to the handling of juvenile matters which includes techniques for handling incidents, such as wandering, that involve juveniles with autism spectrum disorder or nonverbal learning disorder.

“Many local police departments, including Fairfield have worked with organizations like NAMI, National Associations of Mental Illness to implement best practices. Similarly, it is important for state law enforcement officers to be able to recognize a child or adolescent who possibly has Autism, training should be helpful tools to ensure the best outcome for potential interactions,” said Rep. Kupchick.

Rep. Devlin said, “I am pleased Connecticut is taking proactive measures to support our law enforcement community in better understanding the autistic and special needs community, including in handling a crisis-type situation. It is vital to our children’s safety.”

The bill received the full endorsement of the Police Officers Association of Connecticut.

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134)

State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134)

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