SJSO to undergo autism training and certification

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Deputy sheriffs and first responders with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) will complete autism training conducted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) beginning in January 2018.

Over 400 St. Johns County law enforcement officers will take part in the training, which will address autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how to recognize and communicate with an individual who may have ASD.

“With 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism per year, it is vital that first responders and law enforcement are trained how to recognize and react to situations before they escalate when encountering an individual with special needs,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman.

All attendees undergoing the training will receive their certification in autism following completion, making St. Johns County the first sheriff’s office in Florida with autism certification through IBCCES, a worldwide provider of autism and mental health training and certification.

“St. Johns County Sheriff's Office has committed to autism training in order to assist the special needs community in a safe and effective manner when situations arise,” said Sheriff David Shoar. “We are excited to be the first law enforcement agency in Florida to undergo autism training and certification through IBCCES so that we have the tools and resources to benefit our entire community, including these special individuals.”

As of Oct. 1, 2017, Florida law enforcement is required to undergo training on how to identify characteristics of autism, as well as how to appropriately respond to individuals who display such behaviors. The push for legislation came after a police shooting in Miami left an unarmed black therapist shot and injured while he was protecting his client on the autism spectrum. The new law is designed to increase education and awareness and reduce potential risk.  

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