600 Autism Sensory Kits Donated to UHP Troops
Thanks to the Autism Council of Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol Troopers now have sensory kits in every vehicle to help respond to community members during emergencies.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and the Autism Council of Utah, UHP troopers now have an autism sensory kit in every one of their Highway Patrol vehicles. Cheryl Smith, founding member of the Autism Council of Utah and longtime advocate, said in an interview with Fox News that the sensory kits will greatly help officers when they come into contact with someone on the autism spectrum.
“There are noise-cancelling headphones and fidget toys and resource cards and a communication device,” she explained. “So that when law enforcement comes upon someone who needs that extra help in a situation, they’ll have the resources they need.”
Smith explained that her twenty-four-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism, has inspired her to fight on behalf of others with autism who face similar life challenges.
“A lot of the things he does can be misconstrued as criminal activity,” Smith said. “He’s my fire, that’s why I do things for autism is for him and others like him.”
Along with the specialized autism training all Utah Highway Patrol receives, the kits will be an added tool troopers can use when de-escalating emergency situations.
“Every trooper from trooper to all the way up to our top admin level receives this training,” explained Lt. Terry Buck with UHP. “It’s required, and we’re glad to do it. Our end goal is always public safety,” he said, “And so if it helps us interact with one person, one autistic person, in a positive manner, then that helps achieve our goal.”
In a recent incident, Trooper Tyler Johnson from the UHP can be seen on bodycam footage de-escalating a situation involving someone with autism.
“You’re not in trouble, you’re not in trouble,” Trooper Johnson repeatedly says to the individual. “You’re okay.” In the footage, Trooper Johnson can be seen pulling the boy off the road and out of danger before assisting him to sit on the side of the road.
“He was agitated, coming at me swinging at me immediately, but I could tell he wasn’t trying to harm me,” Trooper Johnson said. Trooper Johnson said that the autism training he received helped him to better understand the situation and how to handle it in a safe and positive way.
Smith emphasized that these 600 kits are just the beginning of getting this new tool to first responders across Utah.
“There’s so many great things about people with autism things to celebrate, and there’s also a lot of challenges,” Smith said when talking about how these 600 kits were just the beginning in getting kits to first responders across Utah. “So, these bags can help them. We want everybody to help them.”
“We want law enforcement to have a win-win situation,” Smith said, “for them and for our families that are affected by autism.”
600 Autism Sensory Kits Donated to UHP Troops – Conclusion
Hopefully, more communities and law enforcement agencies across the United States can come together and help in similar ways to ensure that every interaction between some with autism and law enforcement is positive.
If you have any questions about autism products or would like to find more information about sensory products, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly. Our friendly and professional team is standing by to assist you.