LAPD Autism Training

March 23, 2010

The Los Angeles Police Department prides itself on being the leader in best practices as it relates to working with those who have special needs.  Specific training has been developed and is provided by our Mental Evaluation Section of Detective Support Division.

Specific to Autism training, in September of 2007 the LAPD began working with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Autism Society of America on developing specific training on Dealing with Autistic people for first responders.  As a result of these efforts a one hour training course was developed for patrol officers on dealing with an Autistic person.  And in April of 2008, we announced at a news conference, our partnership with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Autism Society of America.

One of the instructors is from the Autism Society and one is from Mental Evaluation Section of Detective Support Division.  An individual who has been diagnosed with Autism is also part of the Training Cadre.  The training focuses on raising awareness of officers to help them better understand Autism Spectrum Disorders and learn how to deal with an Autistic person in a field situation.

The training has been given on a periodic basis starting in May of 2007.  Over 2,500 members of the Department have received the stand alone one hour class.  The class is provided to those commands that have extensive dealings with the mentally ill, such as Central Area’s Safer Cities, Metro, Jail Division, Communication Division and several patrol divisions around the City.  The class is also part of police officer Academy training, the Crisis Intervention Technique Course, Watch Commanders School, Supervisors School and Senior Lead Officer School.   Officers are also required to take an E-Learning course on Autism. 

The LAPD is a leader in the Public Safety Community on this type of training.  The LAPD is the only Police Agency offering this type of training.  This one hour course has been provided to the following agencies:  General Services Police Department; Beverly Hills Police Department; Redondo Beach Police Department; Pomona Police Department; and the Hawthorne Police Department.

The Autism Community has also asked the LAPD to assist in reviewing a film entitled, "How to Get Arrested."  This will assist in making it easier for the Autism community to understand the process.   The LAPD has also been asked to speak at an upcoming Autism Conference on this subject.