CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Law enforcement officers must be able to have safe interactions with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Intellectual or Developmental Disability.

To give officers from all agencies the knowledge and tools to do so, a statewide training initiative was launched.

On August 16, 2022, the Safe Interactions for Law Enforcement and Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities training was launched by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, WVU Office of Health Affairs and the WV State Police. This training seeks to reduce negative interactions and adverse outcomes by increasing awareness of intellectual or developmental disabilities with a focus on autism spectrum disorder.

“The need for Law Enforcement officer training on autism spectrum disorder is critical for 21st century policing. As parents of a young adult and teen with ASD it is the hope of my wife and I that ASD awareness training is a highly effective educational tool to all Law Enforcement in West Virginia, where most of our encounters with those with ASD are positive. Through this training West Virginia can be the light for the rest of the nation to follow when it comes to ASD training and education for Law Enforcement and all first responders.”

Lieutenant K.G. Murray of the West Virginia State Police

The training is a four-hour program that will be held across the entire Mountain State. It will be available to all current active-duty law enforcement officers. Participating officers may receive four in-service education credits.

To find the most current training schedule and locations, and to register, visit the official website.