Creating positive interactions: Rapid City Police Department receives donation for autism awareness training
RAPID CITY, S.D.– The Rapid City Police Department received a donation to help officers learn to better deal with the autistic community. The $750 donation was made by the Autism Society of the Black Hills and will help provide autism awareness training for 150 officers.
The Society hopes that through training, police will better recognize the signs of autism, which will lead to more positive interactions.
Autism Society of the Black Hills Co-President Kelly Keim says, “We know that children with autism will grow up to be adults with autism. If we can create some of these happy interactions early on and have positive interactions, we hope that that will make kids on the spectrum become adults on the spectrum that are more comfortable with law enforcement.”
RCPD Training Administrator Sgt. Nick Davis tells us the training is a three hour course. He adds that one of the big positives is the training is conducted by a retired police officer.
Davis says, “Our officers get good training from a police officer about autism. It really was the best training opportunity that we’ve seen in a long time when it comes to the topic of autism.”
The training is conducted by Blue Bridge Autism Training, led by retired New Jersey police officer and father to an autistic son Captain Gerald Turning Jr.
The Autism Society of the Black Hills is a parent led organization that started in 1997. It raises money to support a June summer camp program for those in the autism spectrum.