Local law enforcement receive training on autism

Crime & Safety

Law enforcement officers in Savannah are taking crucial training classes on the best ways to interact with the people they come in contact with.

The training focuses largely on children with autism.

Christie Belle is a concerned mother who urged officials to train their officers after her 14-year-old son with autism had an encounter with police.

Belle says police were called after her son tore down a handicap parking sign.

She says her son had a meltdown, and Belle became concerned because she didn’t believe officers knew how to communicate with him.

She reached out to police officials and dozens of them listened closely to school leaders about what signs to look out for when interacting with students with autism.

“It’s not really my son it’s for any parent, any child, it’s a concern these are our children,” said Belle.

“It’s important because we’re bridging the gap of maybe misunderstanding between children that are on the autism spectrum and when we as police officers may have to encounter them out in the public that we can have some level of awareness more than what we know now,” said Chief Jeff Hadley with Chatham County Police Department.

School resource officers with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System also attended the session.

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