South River officers receive training to assist residents with autism

SOUTH RIVER–Dating to six years, members of the South River Police Department (SRPD) started receiving special training to better assist residents with autism.

Today, officers from the SRPD continue to periodically follow up with the specific training to assist individuals they may encounter on the spectrum.

Sgt. Edwin Yorek said officers trained with Dennis Debbaudt, founder of Debbaudt Legacy Productions. Debbaudt provides law enforcement training nationwide for autism.

Although this training is not mandatory for police departments, Yorek said officers of the SRPD all have received the specific training.

“It makes us more aware of the specific needs for persons with autism and how to deal with individuals we come in contact with,” Yorek said, “most importantly, caring [and] dealing with the numerous residents we have that reside in the Borough of South River, adult and juvenile.”

Yorek said the program involved video classroom training that highlighted common traits of the developmental disorder, what to look for, the most successful ways to interact with persons with autism, etc.

The police department’s periodic training to agency officers is at no cost, according to Yorek.

“We feel that not only the training we provide for persons with autism is imperative, but any type of training to officers employed by our agency can and will provide them with the ability to deal with almost any/all situations more professionally, efficiently and safely for all parties involved,” Yorek said.

For more information on Debbaudt Legacy Productions, visit www.debbaudtlegacy.com.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.