GLOUCESTER — Chief Edward Conley is pleased to share that all Gloucester Police Officers will take part in an autism awareness training in April.
The training recognizes Autism Awareness Month, which takes place each April.
During the training, officers will learn how to identify and effectively assist those who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when responding to calls.
ASD includes a wide range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability including difficulty communicating and interacting with others and repetitive behaviors, according to the National Health Institute of Mental Health.
The training will be taught by Lt. Martin Baker of the Norwood Police Department. Lt. Baker has spent the last decade teaching autism education in police departments throughout Massachusetts.
“This training will be important to ensuring members of the Gloucester Police Department are providing the highest level of service to our residents,” Chief Conley said. “I look forward to hearing Lt. Baker share his expertise with our officers on how to effectively serve a potentially vulnerable population.”
The training will be held on Monday, April 6 at the Gloucester City Hall Auditorium and two sessions will be available for officers to attend. The first will start at noon and the second will start at 4 p.m.
The cost of the training is being funded by a grant from the City of Gloucester Health Department.
In 2018, the Center for Disease Control determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with ASD. One in 37 boys are diagnosed and one in 151 girls are diagnosed.
Residents are encouraged to enroll in Smart911, where they can put on their profile if they or a person who lives in their home has ASD, as well as any other pertinent information they want to share with dispatchers.