The Berlin police department has implemented the Blue Envelope Program, an initiative gaining momentum in the state that assists individuals with autism during law-enforcement interactions.
Police Chief Michael Scheer expressed enthusiasm about the initiative.
“Simplifying interactions between law enforcement and citizens is a win for everyone,” he said. “I anticipate this initiative’s success and the positive impact it will have.”
Scheer extended gratitude to individuals and agecies for their support of the program, including Mayor Rick Miller and council, the Camden County Police Chiefs Association, the county prosecutor’s office and Autism New Jersey, whose Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Buchanan commended the initiative.
Alex Mann, a police supporter and autism advocate, praised the Blue Envelope Program for its potential in assisting autistic individuals and their families during interactions with emergency personnel, highlighting how the initiative will provide immediate and accurate information to prevent misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
Berlin police Lt. Joshua Smith emphasized the program’s significance in enhancing services and understanding individuals with autism by helping officers effectively communicate and handle related situations.
“Law-enforcement officers have taken an oath to ensure all people are protected and that they provide a service,” he explained. “In relation to this, someone who may have autism may not know how to or may struggle with communication with an officer during a law-enforcement encounter.
“Having this Blue Envelope will ease the process of telling an officer that they (individuals) may have autism,” Smith added, “and it will assist the officer with using communication techniques to effectively do their job.”
Smith reiterated the Berlin department’s proactive approach in strengthening community relations, emphasizing the Blue Envelope Program’s role in bridging the gap between police and the community and fostering transparency.
For more information on the program, email CommunityRelations@BerlinPolice.Net.