Villanueva presents check to Autism Society

Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently announced the Special Alert Program during a press conference at the Hall of Justice. This program will assist deputies when responding to calls that involve those who are suspected of having or have been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability. During this same press conference, Sheriff Villanueva also presented a check from the sale of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department autism lapel pins, to the Autism Society of Los Angeles.

In an effort to better serve and understand the needs of community members suspected of having or diagnosed with a disability, the Department developed a program to allow caregivers or family members to voluntarily provide information about a person living in their home who is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability.

If caregivers would like to participate in the program, they need to fill out the Special Alert form that can be accessed on www.lasd.org under resources and take it to their nearest Sheriff’s Station. The Department will then enter a “Special Alert” in its computer dispatch system, and deputies will receive certain information when responding. By providing this information in advance, people are alerting deputies about the needs of the person at home who is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability. This important information may help them decide how to best approach the situation and what resources to bring with them.

“Thank you Sheriff Villanueva. Just thrilled to hear about the steps that the Sheriff’s Department is taking to improve the safety of encounters between law enforcement and those on the spectrum,” said Andy Kapoti, President of the Autism Society of Los Angeles.   

“Having this information really gives everybody a leg up, so we know how to de-escalate it properly, who are the responsible people or what issues might be useful in communicating successfully with this individual,” said Villanueva. 

Those interested in filling out the Special Alert form may download it from https://lasd.org/specialalert/ and take it to their nearest Sheriff’s station. 

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