By Kevin Deutsch
The Coconut Creek Police Department has outfitted its patrol vehicles with magnetic decals to educate citizens during Autism Awareness Month. This week, the department will conduct special training to help officers better communicate with autistic citizens.
The decals will remain on CCPD patrol cars throughout April. Five patrol vehicles have also been wrapped in special Autism Awareness Month decals to further spread awareness about autism, police officials said.
As for police officers, each will wear autism awareness lapel pins, shaped like puzzle pieces, on their uniforms this month.
The lapel pieces were provided by Autism Speaks, a national non-profit organization that helps spread information about autism to more than 18 million Americans.
Also, in April, the department will conduct its annual autism awareness training, which is mandatory for all police officers.
The training teaches officers how to avoid potential misunderstandings with citizens with Autism Spectrum Disorder and outlines how officers can communicate with people with developmental disabilities.
April also marks the return of the department’s annual Autism Awareness Day, following a two-year hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event will be held Saturday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Promenade at Coconut Creek, 4467 Lyons Road.
Families will get to meet police officers, view a vehicle display, take pictures with first responders, and spend time petting specially-trained miniature ponies from Personal Ponies Florida in Boca Raton.
Members of Coconut Creek Fire Rescue will also be at the event, and several local organizations providing services to families with loved ones on the spectrum.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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