Autism Shield for Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, and EMS


Pioneers in safety training for police, fire fighters, and EMTs, POAC provides training for first responders throughout New Jersey. This training saves children's lives.

Research shows that persons with autism and other developmental disabilities are approximately seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than the general population. The actions or non-responsiveness of people with autism are almost always misinterpreted by untrained individuals. Inappropriate social responses and non-contextual emotional outbursts, commonly seen in people with autism, can cause confusion at best and spark conflict in worst case scenarios. The inability to follow complex or even simple directions during an emergency or crisis situation can lead to serious injury or worse. Without training and awareness of this condition, tragic consequences often ensue when effected individuals come in contact with first responders. However, these contacts can often be easily resolved when the officers and professionals involved have the information they need to navigate what can be a complex situation. The primary goal of this project is to enhance officer and citizen safety. Specifically this project will:

  • Make law enforcement officers and first response professionals aware of the condition of autism, its symptoms, and the characteristics commonly seen in individuals who are affected.
  • Provide information to enhance better recognition of a person with autism and response methods for officers in field situations.
  • Identify public safety risks for people who have autism, predictable contacts, and 911 dispatches.
  • Explain the problems that a higher functioning person with autism may have in criminal justice situations.
  • Provide methods for law enforcement agencies to proactively work with individuals with autism, their families, and advocacy organizations and apply tolerance and public relations skills when doing so.

This training is held on site at police, fire, and emergency services departments throughout New Jersey.  Presentations are made during in service sessions and multiple sessions can be arranged to reach entire departments and municipalities.  Please call 732-785-1099 to schedule a training at your location.

Date & Time Location Status
Passaic County Police Academy inservice
Morris County CIT inservice