SJCPD receives donated non-verbal communication picture boards

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 11:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - What’s good in Michiana?

On Monday, the Autism Society of Indiana donated 150 emergency communication boards to the St. Joseph County Police Department. The donation will help officers when they are dealing with emergency situations with non-verbal individuals.

The SJCPD is hoping this new tool will help make officers’ jobs both easier and more effective.

For example, an individual will be able to tell an officer what they need, or how they are feeling, simply by pointing.

“Instead of going back to the old notepad and trying to write it out, it may be easier for them to point to a picture, point towards a letter,” said Sgt. Daniel Banicki with the St. Joseph County Police Department.

Emergency personnel will also point to pictures on the board to help get “yes” or “no” responses.

“This is something that’s going to be a game changer, especially for those with autism,” Sgt. Banicki said. “There’s a lot more people it seems like on the spectrum and there’s a lot of non-verbal people with this now, we may be able to communicate with them a lot better and a lot easier.”

The boards will be distributed to patrol officers, horse posse deputies and county jail staff.

“We want to make sure we can help our community the best as possible. If we can get more people on board with this, it would be great,” Sgt. Banicki explained.

The boards are cost-effective, low-tech tools that can easily be put into practice once in the field.

“Nothing fancy, nothing high tech about it. It’s a laminated piece of paper with pictures on it, but it’s going to be a huge benefit to the community and to the police officers doing their job,” Sgt. Banicki finished.

The Autism Society of Indiana is reportedly distributing these boards across the state of Indiana. The department hopes to start using these boards in the next week or two after officers undergo proper training.