If you have a loved one with autism, make sure they know their resources when interacting with police

24 June 2024- The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) today encouraged individuals with autism to take advantage of a free safety resource designed to enhance their interactions with law enforcement officers. The PSP has officially started to distribute an informational card that should be carried by people with autism and presented during any encounter with police.

“Behaviors associated with autism can cause barriers to effective communication. This card can be presented to reduce those barriers,” said Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “When an officer is made aware a person has autism, they can respond accordingly, resulting in a safer interaction for everyone involved.”

The informational cards alert law enforcement officers that the individual has autism and therefore may be nonverbal, bothered by loud noises, hyper-sensitive to touch, and unresponsive to commands or questions. The officers are directed to be patient, use a calm and direct voice, and keep their questions and commands simple.

Colonel Paris and Governor Shapiro met with advocates to talk about how law enforcement can better serve individuals with autism. PSP’s Office of Community Engagement developed the informational card, which is available on the Safety Resources page of PSP’s website. Individuals may print the card from the website and carry it in a wallet, or they can choose to save it on their phone. Troopers will distribute the cards at public community events.

The PSP encourages individuals with autism to present the informational card during interactions with any police officer. The officer does not need to be a Pennsylvania state trooper.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov.