Airport police host 'ALEC' autism awareness training for local law enforcement


The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) recently hosted law enforcement and first responders from around the state to engage in “ALEC” (Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition) Autism Awareness Training. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are estimated to occur in one out of every 59 births. People with ASD are more likely to have 911 encounters than others in the general population. ALEC training helps foster a deeper understanding of ASD among public safety and law enforcement personnel.  

The goal of ALEC trainings is to complement existing training to provide first responders with additional tools to use in assessing risk and determining responses to situations first responders may encounter. The training, which took place at T.F. Green Airport on Jan. 23 and 30, provides background on ASD including typical behaviors and characteristics to better help first responders learn how best to engage and communicate with individuals to ensure a safe outcome.

ALEC presenters are first responders with direct personal or family knowledge of ASD. Training includes real life case studies for law enforcement, fire and rescue, as well as other emergency response personnel. ALEC began in 2003 as a collaborative effort of The Arc of South Norfolk Family Autism Center and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office.

“The Rhode Island Airport Corporation is proud to offer ALEC Autism Awareness training to both our own personnel as well as other police departments throughout the state,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation in a statement. “Our Airport Police Department looks forward to integrating these strategies into our responses as we continue to seek ways to improve service to our patrons.”

 In addition to officers and responders from the Rhode Island Airport police, fire and rescue, additional departments throughout the state also attended the training including: The U.S. Attorney’s Office, including U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, the Providence Police Department (PD), as well as police departments from Bristol, Brown University, Burrillville, Johnston, North Kingstown, North Providence, West Warwick, and Rhode Island’s 911personnel.

“Engaging in ALEC Autism Awareness training is yet another example of T.F. Green Airport’s commitment to better serving the needs of all our passengers and let families know that Rhode Island’s personnel are well trained to accommodate children and individuals on the Autism Spectrum to ensure that we can provide a welcoming environment for all travelers,” said Jonathan Savage, Board Chair of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.


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