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St. Johns Sheriff’s Office Launches Training To Help Improve Interactions With Autistic Citizens

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St. Johns Sheriff's Office
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Autism awareness is the goal of a training program this week for deputies at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Spokesman Charles Mulligan said the Sheriff’s Office began crisis-intervention training nearly two-years-ago to help deputies respond to people with mental illness.

The purpose, Mulligan said, is to learn how to de-escalate situations as opposed to making them worse.

Autism, he said, presents its own set of challenges. “Many times, individuals who have mental illness, they’re not non-verbal. They communicate. Whereas someone with autism may not respond to you at all. And so these are the different changes we hope to garner a more broad understanding of.”

Mulligan said the training program is part of the department’s continuing-education initiative.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.