top of page
Search
  • Autism Council of Utah

Autism, Law Enforcement & First Responders

Updated: Jan 28


Over 2000 Autism Sensory Bags have been distributed all over Utah

Thanks to a generous donation from Doug Smith Subaru and Subaru of America, law enforcement agencies across Utah are receiving training and tools that enable officers to better manage encounters with individuals with autism. With the help of Doug Smith Subaru, the Autism Council of Utah has been able to assemble and deliver autism sensory bags and training curriculum to law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Utah. Their goal is to provide sensory bags to all first responders in the state. Doug Smith Subaru helps in these efforts through generous donations as well as helping to assemble the sensory bags at the Doug Smith Subaru location.


The autism sensory bags contain noise cancelling headphones, a picture exchange communication system and markers for communications needs, fidget toys, and resource information. Individuals with autism can have high sensory needs and process experiences differently. The tools within the autism sensory bags offer solutions for managing sensory overload and communication, helping to better enable law enforcement officers to deescalate encounters in a safer, more positive way.



One of the latest presentation of sensory bags was made to the Salt Lake County section of the Utah Highway Patrol where 600 bags were delivered. Accepting the bags on behalf of the UHP was Lt. Terry Buck who said, “We’re learning how to interact with individuals with autism in a positive manner and these bags are going to be a huge part of that.”


In addition to autism sensory bags, Doug Smith Subaru and the Autism Council of Utah are providing training tools and materials that educate law enforcement officers in autism. The Autism Council of Utah was largely responsible for the passage of a state law requiring mandatory autism and mental health training for all law enforcement personnel in Utah. The training materials provided by the Council help officers learn to effectively recognize autism, identify autism vs. criminal behaviors, and initiate crucial de-escalation techniques. The bags as well as the training are provided at no charge and are available to all law enforcement agencies in the state. With the help of Doug Smith Subaru, training and sensory bags have so far been distributed to law enforcement across the state from Utah and Salt Lake Counties to as far as the Iron County Sheriff’s and St. George Police Departments in Southern Utah. Orders have also been placed by Salt Lake County Unified Police, as well as police departments in Cottonwood Heights, Orem, and Ogden, Utah. Doug Smith Subaru’s $50,000 donation to the Autism Council of Utah has funded several projects benefiting Utah’s autistic community. “We are so grateful to Doug Smith Subaru for giving us this grant so we can make these bags possible for every first responder in the state of Utah. They’re amazing to work with,” says Autism Council of Utah founding member Cheryl Smith. The Autism Council of Utah is Doug Smith Subaru’s Love Promise Hometown Charity.

 

Autism Safety ~ Bridging the gap between law enforcement and individuals with disabilities, one step at a time. https://youtu.be/GWxlFrvo0wQ

 

We have had several people respond to our request for information concerning law enforcement/first responder training in Utah.


The following list is what we know about and how to make contact for more information. In addition, we are currently working with the Attorney General’s office on their autism committee presenting the VirTra virtual training. We currently have curriculum that we are teaching to the trainers at POST to take throughout Utah.


Please let us know if you have other resources that we should know about.

 


One goal of the Autism Council of Utah is to increase positive outcomes for officers and citizens affected by autism, and ensure safer interactions by offering training. As a second step, we would like to see events that create opportunities for one-on-one interactions with officers and people on the Autism Spectrum, and their families. We hosted a meet and greet in Cottonwood Heights recently, and wanted to share some information to help other departments have the same positive experience. Check out the information below detailing the steps we took to have this awesome meet and greet. We will support you in any way we can.



Autism Council of Utah

Autism and First Responder Meet and Greet Guide
A goal of the Autism Council of Utah is to increase positive outcomes for officers and citizens affected by autism, and ensure safer interactions by offering training; and providing information on hosting meet and greet events creating opportunities for one-on-one interactions.

Following is the information on the meet and greet where I live:

· Whether it be citizen driven, or law enforcement driven, determine who the officer is in charge of community relations, or autism training requirements, or who is willing to coordinate the event.
· Decide on a place, date, and time. We hosted our event at the city hall/police department.
· Advertise the event in your community newsletter and on social media. The ACU will post the event on the website calendar, as well as social media, and in autism support groups.
· The officer in charge booked the fire truck, arranged for the police motorcycle, razor, and police car to be at the event.
· We had games such as corn hole, chess, Jenga, and coloring books and crayons.
· We had a BBQ with hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, water/soda, and cookies. A simple day/evening could also be planned with desserts and drinks.
· We provided fidget toys to be given to individuals with autism by the officers.
· We had vendor tables with autism information and resources.
· We wanted people who had autism and their families to be able to meet and talk with officers in a low stress environment and also for officers to be able to talk with people on the autism spectrum to gain a better understanding of each other.
· Everyone is welcome, although it’s important that officers and people with autism know each other in their own community.
· The Autism Council of Utah will give grants for this event. Complete the one page grant letter on the ACU website. www.autismcouncilofutah.org

Contact Cheryl Smith at smithfam29@gmail.com for additional information.

 

Law Enforcement Now Requires Autism Awareness Training


Utah lawmakers approved HB334 during this past legislative session, which deals with special needs training for law enforcers. "This bill requires peace officer training to include training on autism spectrum disorder and other mental illnesses," according to the bill. The law went into effect on May 5, 2021. In preparation for the bill's signing, at the quarterly Peace Officer Standards and Training Council meeting in March, it approved a motion that requires all new police cadets to receive three hours of autism education during their basic training, in addition to other mental health training that is already required. "This was a really good bill," council director Major Scott Stephenson said of HB334, while adding that the training is needed because officers are "dealing with individuals we just don't understand."


https://www.ksl.com/article/50166554/law-now-requires-autism-awareness-training-heres-what-utah-police-will-learn?fbclid=IwAR20AvXLbbrh2oDWmO34Zc6jaiSTfeh8IzK0YRBeAn1ZVrtqbry7LLOzxP4

 

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, at Utah Valley University,

is pleased to announce FREE Autism and Policing Trainings are now available through an online webinar format.

Click here to register for any of the available dates:

https://www.uvu.edu/autism/first-responder/

The trainings are in a live webinar format with a trained police officer through the

ALEC (Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition).

Learn more about ALEC here: https://lifeworksarc.org/service/alec-first-responder-training/ .


To date, they have trained over 40,000 first responders across the country, with great success. We assert that the strength in this model comes from the dual understanding the trainers have in both policing as their own profession and their personal connection to autism.

 

A Utah Parent Center workshop regarding different subjects related to Law Enforcement:  


Episode 1: Don't Tell Me To Calm Down

https://youtu.be/E6YVYD8aiy0


Episode 2: What to Expect when the Police are Called

https://youtu.be/sIXD_qoMQ-0

Episode 3: Floreo VR: Police Interaction & Safety

https://youtu.be/eFVottnTn-w


Columbus Center ~ Training Video ~ Invisible Disabilities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VPXUov2YvA

 

Training for law enforcement encountering individuals with autism ~

KSL Investigates:

Crisis Intervention Team Training Upon Police ~ https://ksltv.com/445806/ksl-investigates-crisis-intervention-team-training-among-police/


What is the Autism Safety Roster? The roster is a project in partnership with the community and the Unified Police Department (UPD). The online roster promotes communication and gives police quick access to important information about a person with Autism such as their name, birthday, physical description, emergency contact information, known triggers and behaviors etc. This roster provides information that is critical for law enforcement prior to an officer's arrival at a scene and/or prior to contacting an individual with Autism or other mental illnesses.


Goal of the Program To help insure the safety of an individual with Autism in a crisis situation.

What happens once the person is registered? Once the person is registered, they will be placed into a database in the UPD's Record Management System (RMS). If you do not reside within the Unified Police Department jurisdiction, contact your local police department to inquire if they participate in a similar program. Once the submitted information is verified, it will be placed into the dispatch system. This is where the rostered information will be given to the officers responding on calls or interacting with an individual who has Autism. When possible, an officer trained in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) will be sent to the scene.


Register Annually The information must be updated and submitted every year to ensure the information is accurate. If the information is not updated, the file will be marked as "inactive" until current information is submitted.


How to Register To register, an adult family member or guardian of an individual with Autism ~ https://updsl.org/page_services_autismRoster.php

 

Utah’s Yellow Dot Program

Citizens and First Responders Working Together to Save Lives 

Have you thought about what the immediate aftermath of a serious crash might be? Would you be conscious? Able to speak? Able to tell first responders what medications you’re taking, any special medical considerations and who to contact?

These considerations and the importance of administering the most effective care as quickly as possible to crash victims led to the creation of the Yellow Dot Program.

It is designed to communicate critical information to first responders when crash victims might not be able to speak for themselves.

Utah started its Yellow Dot Program in January 2012.

Yellow Dot can be used in conjunction with the Vial of Life program.


How to participate in Yellow Dot

There are four simple steps to making the Yellow Dot program work for you.

You’ll need three items:

Complete one form per person for each person who regularly rides in each vehicle you own.

Yellow Dot Information Form

 

Locations to Pick Up Yellow Dot Packets

The stations below have everything you need to get started. Pick up your Yellow Dot stickers, photos, and packets at any of the following locations:

To Request Materials or A Free Class Contact

Jamie Troyer, RN at 801-585-2991 jamie.troyer@hsc.utah.edu


Additional Contacts

For more information about Yellow Dot, please contact any of the following people:

 


Project Safeguard is a project in partnership with the community and Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement.


This online program promotes communication and gives police quick access to important information about a person who displays a tendency to wander; such as Autism, Dementia or other disability with similar tendencies.


This program provides information that is critical for law enforcement prior to an officer's arrival at a scene and/or prior to contacting an individual with disabilities.


Rapid access to information such as their name, birthday, physical description, emergency contact information, known triggers and behaviors etc. will help Officers during their initial response.


You will receive a notification at the end of each year to refresh your information.

Project Safeguard Program

How to Register To register, an adult family member or guardian of an individual with Autism ~ https://updsl.org/page_services_autismRoster.php


 


772 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page