Howard County Police Department recruit Michael Scanlon, left, talks with Jane Plapinger and her 13-year-old son Dave, who has autism. The recruits attended a pool party with the Howard County Autism Society to get first-hand experience on interacting with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun/TNS)
COLUMBIA, Md. –
“Say a young man is pacing outside a house.
“A police officer asks him to stop, but the young man keeps pacing. Maybe the young man notices the officer’s gun and just wants to touch it. He reaches …
“‘They may not know not to come up and touch their guns,’ Elizabeth Benevides said.
“Her teenage son has autism, and often repeats words said to him.
“‘If you’re an officer,’ she said, ‘you might think that’s really flippant.’
“Benevides plans this week to help train police recruits to resolve such encounters with ‘de-escalation tactics:’ speak calmly, give space, be patient.