WACO, Texas – The Waco Police Department just received a donation from the District Attorney’s Office for 100 Autism Sensory Kits.
The A.S.K. Bag is a new tool which will be available to trained officers when communicating becomes difficult between them and those with developmental or cognitive challenges – or others who may need extra assistance on scenes.
Each bag is equipped with a non-verbal flip chart of pictures for communication, white board with markers, fidgets, sensory tactile toys for calming, a blanket for comfort earmuffs to dampen noise on emergency scenes, and sunglasses for those with light sensitivity.
McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Anne Jackson has started training the officers here in Waco. She shares how important it is to have these resources:
“So when they encounter it, they’re not alarmed by it,” Jackson says. “They understand it, and they can respond appropriately. And that’s what the autism sensory kit does. And that’s when our training goes, equips them with information and resources, so they can enter a crisis with someone on the spectrum and figure it out and de-escalate, instead of escalate.”
This is just one more adaptive way the Waco Police Department and the McLennan District Attorney’s Office are working together to better the law enforcement relationship with the community. Half of the Police Department has already received their training – officers are expected to use these resources hopefully by December.