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New Law Requiring Autism Training For Law Enforcement Takes Effect Sunday

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A new Florida law requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers takes effect Sunday.

The new law adds autism training to law enforcement agencies’ curriculum. It includes recognizing the symptoms and characteristics of people with autism. Florida Police Benevolent Association Executive Director Matt Puckett calls it “smart policy,” that builds on past legislative efforts.

“The year before we had worked on making sure law enforcement officers understood when someone is going into diabetic shock or having some kind of episode from diabetes,” he said. “So, these are things we’re trying to make officers, we’re asking them so much…we’re having so many interactions with our law enforcement officers and people in the streets that are mentally ill, that are suffering from some kind of illness that makes their behavior abnormal, at least to what the current training standards are. We’re trying to specify these things, so that officers are better equipped to handle this sort of stuff.”

According to the CDC, about 1 in 68 American children have autism spectrum disorders.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.