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Provo police force reaches out to students at ScenicView Academy

Daily Herald - 12/26/2017

Nowadays seeing a large group of police officers entering a school can bring fear to an unknowing onlooker.

However, on Wednesday, not only was there a large group of officers who entered ScenicView Academy campus in Provo, but they were also carrying sweet rolls.

ScenicView Academy serves young adults with autism and other learning disabilities. In the spirit of the holiday season, eight officers and two crime investigators from the Provo Police Department spent much of the afternoon with students. They brought sweet rolls and smiles to share as they interacted with the students.

A question and answer period took place, followed by games and interaction, including a dance-off with several officers and students. It was a great time of warm interaction, which helped provide for both the officers and the students to get to know each other and feel more comfortable with one another - police officers, and individuals on the autism spectrum.

The event was initiated by the Provo police in their attempt to build healthy relationships with individuals diagnosed with autism. According to Suzanne Grimshaw of ScenicView Academy, "Parents often express that one of their greatest worries is the lack of information officers have about people in the spectrum."

Marty Matheson, executive director of ScenicView said, "ScenicView Academy students were delighted and grateful to interact with the Provo Police Department. Out in the community it can be a bit intimidating to interact with a police officer. This interaction helped our students feel more comfortable with police officers, and we hope it helped the officers to understand better individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thanks to the Provo Police Department for this kind gesture."

It is a positive thing for our community that our local police departments are not only receiving additional training on how to best work with the community of people with disabilities and mental illness, but are also willing to take the first step in creating positive interactions. I applaud the Provo Police Department for reaching out and encourage other departments to do the same.

I would also like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and say thank you for all of the positive feedback that you provide.


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