Training law enforcement on dealing with autism

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) -

Every year more and more people are diagnosed with autism.

As that number grows so does the need to train law enforcement. But dealing with someone living with autism isn't new for police.

"Hundreds everyday. Law enforcement across Western New York deal with this everyday. Everywhere, everyday," Former Lockport Chief of Police Larry Eggert said.

Dennis Debbaudt spoke at the presentation and says this training is vital.

"We now have a rate of autism that has leaped in a generation from two to five out of every ten thousand people to one in every 68 individuals. So there are a lot more people with autism."

The best trait a responder can have in one of these situations? Patience. Which Eggert says can be difficult when you don't know what to expect on a call.

"You may walk into someone with autism and it looks like a drug issue or it looks like somebody whose not having a good day. We unfortunately react to what we see initially and if we don't have the training to understand what we're seeing in law enforcement than the outcome can be pretty different."

The training falls during Mental Health Awareness Month at Erie County Medical Center and on National Trauma Awareness Day (May 18th) -- For more information on autism head here.

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