In 2017, Police Chief Michael Spellman said that it's not a matter of "if" an officer will come in contact with a citizen on the autism spectrum, but rather, a matter of "when." Indeed, one out of every 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the Centers for Disease Control said in 2018.
City of Groton Police officer Bobby Harris, who has two decades of training in working with people on the autism spectrum and is himself a trainer in the field, noted that first responders should know how to approach a person with autism and, "Not just barge in here if I have a problem and expect my son to act like a normal kid would act," he told local media last year. His son has Asperger's.
Now, the city has signed a formal agreement to begin using a specialized software in its emergency dispatch center that was designed to better help officers and first responders know how a person with autism communicates, might react, and identifies special sensitivities, like flashing lights, and very loud noises, police and fire sirens, for example.