Newport News PD’s ‘Project Guardian’ aims to improve how officers interact with citizens on the autism spectrum


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Local officers are learning more about working with citizens who may be on the autism spectrum.

“Project Guardian” aims to train Newport News officers to better identify when they may be working with someone on the spectrum.

Police say that recognizing these different characteristics can lead to better ways of comforting and de-escalating situations that may arise.

Often times, police say they may not understand why some people avoid eye contact, keep their fists clenched, or flap their hands.

“Officers can never be too prepared for any situation no matter the severity. This is where I ask for your help in making our officers as prepared as possible when interacting with children and young adults with autism.”

Program Leader Det. J. R. Howser | Newport News Police

Newport News Police have also created a voluntary database to hold information about local citizens on the autism spectrum.

The application requests basic information about your loved one with autism, as well as a recent photo.

This information is kept confidential and will only be provided to first responders if a call is placed for service at your residence.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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