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Florida law enforcement to boost Autism awareness training

Florida law enforcement to boost Autism awareness training
Florida law enforcement to boost Autism awareness training
Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 14:44:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - In the search for criminals, law enforcement officers often face their fair share of challenges.

This month, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill that will require autism awareness training for law enforcement. One local nonprofit applauds that effort, saying the training will help officers better understand the communities they serve.

"The Arc of Florida" is Tallahassee-based organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

CEO Deborah Linton says people on the "Autism spectrum" may respond to officers' questions or commands differently, sometimes with little or no response or by simply parroting what the officer said last.

"You are welcome in the community, and we want everyone, including persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to be able to live alongside us safely in the community," said Linton. "So, all of these baby steps we take towards that just makes a more welcoming community for all the people we serve, and we're very grateful for it."

The bill was signed into law on June 2nd, directing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to enhance training.