UKPD receives training from community police on autism



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug 9, 2017) – The University of Kentucky Police Department received the Police Autism Community Training (PACT) yesterday from Abbey Love, a doctoral student in educational psychology in the UK and founder of PACT. The two-hour session included classroom instruction, scenario-based simulations, and visual material focused on improving communication issues between law enforcement officials and people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). ).

Love taught a class of 30 UKPD officers how the brain processes information differently for people with ASD, which can lead to social communication deficits and repetitive behaviors. She deconstructed typical behavior of people with ASD and offered proactive solutions for law enforcement to communicate effectively in a way these people would understand.

“It is difficult to interpret behaviors during high tension situations,” Love said. “These difficulties can be alleviated with appropriate training and education and possibly by increasing interactions with people with ASD.”

Growing up with a brother with ASD, Love has always been interested in raising awareness about the disorder and finding creative ways to help others communicate effectively with her brother. Since the development of PACT, Love has trained nearly 300 law enforcement officers and recruits with Lexington Police, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and three police departments outside of Lexington. She also coordinated five meeting opportunities in Lexington that provided a safe space for police officers and people with autism to practice positive interactions outside of a crisis or emergency.

UKPD learned about Abbey Love’s autism research through an article from UKNOW and contacted her directly. His teachings deepened the existing knowledge base of UKPD officers who attended previous ASD sessions. Topics included statistics, general behavior and best practices, and a quick reference guide was also distributed to participants.

“We appreciate the service the British officers render to our community and thank them for giving us the time to speak about something that we believe is crucial for the safety of our loved ones,” Love said.

UKPD officers also undergo Crisis Intervention Team training to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness with a focus on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. In addition, the Police Service is in discussions with the UK’s Office of LGBTQ * Resources to receive SafeZone training and find ways to improve inclusion and understanding between students and law enforcement. .

“Training has always played a vital role in our agency,” said UKPD chief Joe Monroe. “We are very fortunate to benefit from the innovative research and collaboration in the UK. “


Police Autism Community Training aims to increase awareness and knowledge of people with autism spectrum disorders to law enforcement officials. PACT aims to educate law enforcement officials, as well as people with autism and their families, to interact successfully with each other. The training aims to prepare all parties for a crisis situation with newly developed tools at their disposal with an emphasis on security. Love offers free safety equipment and training to the community with a small supplement for larger departments.



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