Aberdeen Police Department Supports PFA for Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month
Sgt. Robert Tice of the Aberdeen Police Department (APD) organized trainings from PFA for officers to help quickly recognize the signs of autism and respond effectively. Officers are now equipped with the knowledge and tools to approach an autistic person, or any person with a developmental disability, including those whose condition includes a sensory processing disorder. APD supervisors are now equipped with autism sensory kits to utilize in the field. These kits will be instrumental is helping a person ease some of the overwhelming stimulation that someone with a developmental disablity may be feeling during a police encounter.
Throughout the month of April APD and two other police agencies will be selling Autism Awareness and Acceptance Police Patches ($5 in person or $6 online) with all proceeds benefiting PFA. Patches are available at participating departments or by contacting email@example.com
Sgt. Robert Tice, who is the father of two autistic children, and understands the importance of autism awareness and acceptance throughout our community organized the training for officers and sensory kits. He rallied the three municipal police agencies and with the assistance of the Harford County Municipal Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #128, arranged the creation of the local municipalities first ever Autism Awareness and Acceptance Police Patch. The newly designed patches will join the nationally supported Autism Patch Challenge that was created in 2017 by New Rochelle, New York Police, Detective Christopher Greco. Det. Greco is the father of an autistic, non-verbal child who founded Christopher’s Voice, a charitable foundation for autistic children in his son’s honor.
Det. Greco formulated the Autism Patch Challenge to promote Autism Awareness and Acceptance in every community throughout the country. The objective is to create and attach a custom Autism Awareness first responder patch to at least one emergency vehicle within each community’s police, fire or EMS department during April, Autism Awareness Month. Shoulder patches are a popular alternative. The Autism Patch Challenge also encourages police departments to fundraise by selling their autism patches and other memorabilia, then donate the proceeds to local autism charities. Once a police department accepts the Autism Patch Challenge, they are asked to pay it forward by challenging three other police jurisdictions. As of 2019, over 350 police departments have accepted the challenge.