News


FDLE develops autism awareness training for 911 telecommunicators

 
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2022
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC) launched a new course for Florida’s 911 telecommunicators to assist in the safe recovery of children with autism who go missing.
 
This training outlines the steps telecommunicators should use, including what questions to ask, when determining whether a reported missing child may have the signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
 
Children with autism are at a higher risk of drowning compared to other children.  Because of the risk, missing children who have autism may meet the criteria for an Enhanced Missing Child Alert through MEPIC.  The Enhanced Missing Child Alert targets a specific community, within a pre-defined geographical radius, with information about a missing child.
 
FDLE Enforcement and Investigative Support Bureau Special Agent in Charge Mike Phillips said, “When working to find a missing child, ensuring investigators have timely and correct information is paramount. This important new training will equip telecommunicators with the skills and knowledge to discern when a missing child may have autism so that investigators can adjust their strategies accordingly and increase the chances of the child’s safe recovery.”
 
Florida criteria for AMBER and Missing Child Alerts is attached.  The new training is available to all telecommunicators on FDLE’s Online Mandatory Training webpage at Autism Awareness Telecommunicator Training.