LCSO working to improve interactions between officers and those with autism

These seatbelt covers help law enforcement identify if a person in a vehicle is on the autism spectrum during an emergency.
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is trying to add a new layer of protection, and awareness, for people with autism.

LCSO donated nearly 1,000 seatbelt covers to the community Wednesday.

They help law enforcement identify if a person in a vehicle is on the autism spectrum during an emergency.

These belt covers have a simple message on them, which explains that the individual has autism and may not respond, may be unaware of the danger and may resist help.

LCSO Captain Jimmy Goodman said sometimes people on the autism spectrum may be aggressive, disrespectful or defiant.

If officers know that person has autism, they can respond more appropriately--taking care to speak softly and avoid quick movements and loud noises, which could escalate the situation.

“Because we’re there to help. We’re not there to hurt,” Goodman said. “And historically, law enforcement has had some issues with dealing with people on spectrum and we did not get it right. At the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, with our CARD program here locally and everything else, we are trying to get it right.”

If you’re interested in getting one of these free seatbelt covers, you can order one here.

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