April is Autism Acceptance Month – a month dedicated to increasing awareness, understanding, and acceptance for people with autism. All month long, the Ferndale Police Department will participate in various efforts of autism awareness and recognition in support of the “Action 4 Autism” Campaign. This begins with the recognition of World Autism Day, today, Friday, April 2, 2021.
The first initiative in support of this campaign is departmental training. The Ferndale Police and Fire Departments will receive the opportunity to attend multiple training sessions conducted by the Autism Alliance of Michigan. "Though our officers receive training in regard to mental health on an annual basis, we jumped at the opportunity to receive additional training, specifically targeting Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from the Autism Alliance of Michigan. This training will increase our officers’ knowledge of ASD awareness support and will ensure positive experiences for everyone involved,” Chief Dennis Emmi said. “We want to make sure people with autism are safe and that our officers are given the best training we can.”
Another initiative in support of this campaign is the installation of sensory bags in every vehicle. These sensory bags are filled with a variety of toys, sensory items, and other small objects, and will be provided at the scene of an emergency to help promote distraction and calm feelings. Providing sensory stimulation has been shown to reduce agitation and restlessness, particularly in high-stress situations.
The Ferndale Police Department has also detailed a vehicle in support of the “Action 4 Autism” Campaign. The puzzle pieces represent the diversity of people with autism and their families, and to show members of the community they are supported.
Lt. Sarah Krebs from the Michigan State Police Department approached the Ferndale Police Department to get involved. Chief Dennis Emmi, Sgt. Janessa Danielson, and Officer Alison Shank drove the Department’s involvement in the campaign. “It is critically important that we as law enforcement professionals know about the unique risks involved and what kind of options we should try to best address these risks,” Sgt. Danielson stated.“This training is also near and dear to my heart, as I have family on the spectrum."
The Ferndale Police Department is grateful for the opportunity to extend its efforts to the community in recognition and support of the “Action 4 Autism” Campaign. To learn more about ways to show your support, please visit: https://autismallianceofmichigan.org/
For more information, please contact Sgt. Janessa Danielson at 248-541-3650.