Port Moody Police Introduces Autism Training Program

A new online training module developed by the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) has been introduced with the Port Moody Police force. It will give Port Moody Police tools when engaging with individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

An article in the Tri-City News discusses how Rob DeGoey said the diagnosis of his son's developmental disorder four years ago impacted his family. However, as a youth liaison officer with the Port Moody police department, he also knew his son’s tendency to wander and his repetitive behaviours when in a stressful situation could “present as a risk” to people who don’t know him, especially first responders like police.

As part of his own education about autism, DeGoey toured the Pacific Autism Family Network in Richmond, which provides supports for people and families affected by autism. This experienced really opened his eyes and made him motivated to do something in his local community. That seed grew to his involvement with CAN to help develop the new program, which also includes in-person training for a variety of possible scenarios.

Port Moody Police Chief Const. Dave Fleugel said the additional training for the department’s 55 officers and more than a dozen civilian employees was a major success.

Hallie Mitchell, the director of training at CAN, said since the online program was launched in January, more than 650 people — a range of first responders, including police, firefighters, RCMP, BC Emergency Health Services and government workers — have registered. She said the online model allows the training to reach more people, including first responders from other provinces who’ve shown interest in the program.

Fleugel said as police departments increasingly deal with calls that are more of a social service nature than criminal, they have to broaden their skills.

DeGoey is a finalist for an Autism BC excellence in autism award as its volunteer of the year that will be presented April 26th.

We are excited to hear that about the online training program as it helps our whole community move closer to greater inclusion across the Tri-Cities.