Chatham County officers learn how to work with autistic children

Chatham County officers learn how to work with autistic children

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The Chatham County Police Department is making sure their officers are trained for every situation.

The department's autism training came about from an officer having an encounter with an autistic child and not knowing he was autistic.

CCPD officers visited different classrooms Wednesday to raise their awareness of the autistic community and how their brains operate, especially when it comes to public figures like law enforcement.

Chatham County Chief Jeff Hadley says it was important for him to put this training together because he wants his officers to understand what children with autism go through. He says he wants his officers to be able to do their jobs, no matter what disability any individual may have.

He says it's also important to build that relationship between the community and police.

"I was ignorant to the fact that there are some children who have autism that use a device to communicate. I didn't realize it went to that level. Well, take your mind to an officer engaging someone with that and the officers aren't aware of that and that child reaches for his or her device...and for a law enforcement officer, that could be seen as a threat and we don't want that," Chief Hadley said.

He says there are plans in place for future training for the rest of the officers in the county police department.

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