New initiative aims to help Providence officers interact effectively with autistic residents


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Providence Police Department is taking steps to ensure officers know how to respond to calls involving residents who have autism.

The “Home Safe Alert Program” is a volunteer registry for autistic individuals living, working or attending school in the capital city.

Guardians will be asked to include information regarding an autistic resident’s triggers, methods of communication and de-escalation tactics.

These specific details will ensure officers interact and communicate effectively with the resident. It will also provide important information in the event someone goes missing.

Once a resident is registered, the information will be placed into the department’s dispatch system, where it will be kept confidential and will only be provided to the officers who are responding to the call.

“When our officers are responding to calls of a stressful or traumatic nature, the information provided to them through this program could be critical,” Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements said. “Having the ability to utilize this specific information will serve as an effective tool to help our officers best interact and communicate with individuals with autism or developmental disabilities in high-stress scenarios and also possibly avoid escalation of the situation.”

Those who are interested in enrolling in the registry can pick up a form at the Providence Public Safety Complex or download it online.

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