Crime & Justice

Los Angeles police and autistic youth learn from one another

Los Angeles police officer Heidi Stoecklein takes a selfie with Collin Harris,10, during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Los Angeles police officer Heidi Stoecklein takes a selfie with Collin Harris,10, during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Richard Vogel/AP
Los Angeles police officer Heidi Stoecklein takes a selfie with Collin Harris,10, during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Lenny, left, an autistic child from John Adams Middle School talks on a police car loudspeaker during a visit with the police during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Richard Vogel/AP
Los Angeles police officer Heidi Stoecklein takes a selfie with Collin Harris,10, during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy Frank Lobato, right, fingerprints Alexander while LAPD Officer Heriberto Crisantos, left, shows Alejandro his fingerprints through a magnifier during a daylong training on autism with police officers, school police and county Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with 100 autistic students for a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other in an effort to avoid tragedy.
Richard Vogel/AP


About 100 law enforcement officers were paired with autistic students as part of a unique daylong training program that works to educate both populations about the other.

The training with Los Angeles police, school police and Sheriff's deputies on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles is part of a growing effort by law enforcement agencies to ensure their officers are equipped to handle the diversity of people they encounter out in the field and to avoid having an incident end in tragedy.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with autismspectrum disorder, which affects communication, socialization, behavior and sensory processing.

The program was funded by a Los Angeles Police Foundation grant. It's trained 400 officers and 400 students over the last three years.