Over the past month, officers with the Morgan City Police Department have been learning about autism.
The effort is aimed at helping officers better recognize the various ways to identify and interact with people who fall within the Autism Spectrum Disorder as defined by the DSM-V.
Autism is sometimes misevaluated or unrecognized as a child matures to adulthood. Autism, when misidentified, can lead to communication issues and other problems, a spokesman said.
By learning to recognize autism and related conditions, officers can be better prepared to cope with issues, help those in need, and to ensure for the safety of the subject as well as the officer.
Chief James F. Blair has required all officers to complete specific training to recognize the various characteristics and behaviors of autism and improve coping skills.
Yesterday, the training continued with an interactive presentation given to Morgan City Officers by St. Mary educators.
Colleen Hammonds and Sarah Theriot followed up on previous internet training. Officers then met their assistant, an autistic child who was introduced and interacted with the officers. In this case, the student became the teacher, the spokesman said.
Officers learned different communication techniques and methods to better recognize and help an autistic person in need. Autism affects many families throughout the Morgan City area.
The chief says he hopes this training can emphasize the need to better understand those issues which present themselves to his officers on a routine basis.
The spokesman said the Morgan City Police Department would like to extend thanks to Hammonds and Theriot for their help and assistance. The training was encouraging and positive to all those who attended.