News Flash

Police Department - Public Information Office

Posted on: December 2, 2019

NNPD Project Guardian Aims to Keep People with Autism Safe

Project Guardian2 - 800 px

The Newport News Police Department is excited to launch “NNPD Project Guardian.” This new program aims to raise officers’ awareness of individuals in our community with autism spectrum disorder and provides them with information to help keep people with autism safe.

There are no obvious physical signs of autism, so police often don’t know whether or not individuals they encounter have it. Flashing lights on an emergency vehicle, for example, might cause a person with autism to become frightened and act out. Officers may not understand why some individuals with this disorder will not make eye contact with them, keep their fists clenched, or flap their hands. What may seem like a simple interaction with police could be a very traumatic situation for a person with autism and confusing to officers. 

Project Guardian educates all NNPD officers about the common characteristics of the disorder, as well as ways to comfort these individuals and de-escalate any situations that may arise. NNPD has also created a database to hold information about local citizens with autism.   

Participation in the Project Guardian database is voluntary. Parents and guardians are asked to submit basic information about the individual with autism, a photo of the person, and any special concerns officers should be aware of should they encounter them. The information will be entered into the city’s dispatching system, and the address will be flagged so officers and first responders are aware of the individual and their needs when they are called to the residence. 

Program leader, Det. J. R. Howser emphasizes that participation is voluntary, but she said it is vital to keeping people with autism safe. “Officers can never be too prepared for any situation no matter the severity,” she said. “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.”

For more information, visit nnva.gov/projectguardian.

Additional Info...
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Police Department - Public Information Office

Daily Press ad for outstanding warrants, Newport News and Hampton. 12/05/2019

12/05/2019 Daily Press - Weekly Wanted

Posted on: November 21, 2019

Arrest Made in Dresden Drive Homicide

Posted on: September 18, 2019
Elijah Dayron Armstrong

Arrest Made In Homicide Investigation

Posted on: September 17, 2019

Super Loads May Impact Traffic

Posted on: April 23, 2019
Bradley, Anthony Lamont

Suspect Charged in December 11 Shooting

Posted on: February 26, 2019