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The original item was published from 9/18/2018 1:34:08 PM to 10/20/2018 12:00:09 AM.

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Police Department

Posted on: September 19, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Police Provide Autism Awareness Stickers and Magnets to Local Families

Autism magnet

James City County Police Department has a long standing history of working in partnership with all of the citizens we serve. Susan Reese, the mother of a young man with autism recently expressed concern to Officer Ben Woodhouse about how her son, Paul, may react during an emergency situation. She explained that if she were to somehow become incapacitated, he would likely not understand or respond to verbal commands from public safety personnel which could compromise his safety (for example, unbuckle his seat belt to get out of a vehicle, or leave an area with a firefighter, etc.). If emergency responders were aware that they needed to communicate with Paul in a different way and had been trained how to do that, then they would have more time and a better chance to helping him to safety. She further explained that some individuals with autism may even try to flee during an emergency which could place them in further danger, depending on the surroundings.

Reese had seen another law enforcement agency that provided window clings to families of individuals with autism to alert public safety personnel in the event that a passenger in a vehicle did not respond to verbal commands during an emergency situation. She shared this with Officer Woodhouse who then developed both a sticker and a magnet so that they could be used on a vehicle or at a residence. Having both options provides versatility in how they are used.

Officers are provided training on encountering individuals with autism, however, autism doesn’t have a look, so these magnets and stickers alerting public safety officials is a great help. This also gives peace of mind to concerned relatives, like Reese.

The Department is pleased to announce that these magnets and stickers are now available to County residents who have a family member with autism. These will be provided at no cost to residents. To obtain a magnet or sticker for your family member, please contact Officer Ben Woodhouse at 757-259-5150 or

JCCPD present first Autism magnet to local family

Pictured l to r: Officer Ben Woodhouse, Susan Reese, Paul Reese, Chief Brad Rinehimer

Media Contact:
Stephanie Williams, Police Spokesperson

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