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Ogden Police learn how to respond to incidents that involve people living with autism

May 31, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: 2:33 pm

OGDEN, UTAH – According to the World Health Organization, about 1 in 100 children live with autism. That means there’s a good chance you or someone close to you knows someone who has been impacted.

Officers can go through new scenarios based on what’s happening, create new scenarios that focus on more specific instances or tailor them to a local area.

Police often have just seconds to identify what’s going on and act.

“One of the biggest reasons we have this is to be able to teach officers that there are so many other tools they could use aside from the tools that are here on their belt. Primarily, their number one tool is their brain, and their ability to be able to think through situations,” said Ogden Lt. Will Farr.

Farr said the VirTra Simulator allows them a way to help teach officers how to de-escalate situations. He said it also helps them practice how to respond to someone who may be on the spectrum, someone who may be in crisis or may not be responding in a normal way toward police.

He said training happens regularly, with officers around at least once a quarter. Usually, it happens more than that. 

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“We don’t always have a lot of time to be able to process what’s going on. The more that we allow officers to be able to see scenarios and train in scenarios before they actually get in the scenario, it allows their brain to pull back up the information,” said Farr.

Farr said they’ve gotten direct feedback from officers who have gone through training and different scenarios.

 

After encountering a situation similar on the street, he said officers have said they’re glad they had the training beforehand.

The simulator is also used for different kinds of interactive training including verbal training and learning skills to de-escalate situations.

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Ogden Police learn how to respond to incidents that involve people living with autism