Episode 2: We're Losing
In this podcast episode, host Jerry Turning opens up about his personal journey as a special needs parent and a police officer. He emphasizes the importance of building trust and understanding between law enforcement and the special needs community. Jerry discusses the growing perception problem that law enforcement faces, where families are becoming afraid to call 911 during legitimate emergencies involving their special needs loved ones.
Drawing from his own experiences and interactions with thousands of families worldwide, Jerry highlights two key reasons behind this fear. Firstly, families worry that law enforcement officers will misjudge their child's behavior, leading to potential harm. Secondly, they fear that if officers witness any disorder or struggle in their homes, they will be labeled as unfit parents and have their child taken away.
To address this perception issue, Jerry emphasizes the need for education and empathy within law enforcement. By understanding the unique challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum and applying empathy, officers can approach these calls with more sensitivity and effectiveness.
Jerry acknowledges that even as a police officer, he feels a similar hesitation when seeking help for his own special needs child. He admits that the nature of these interactions is delicate and often counterintuitive, requiring officers to go against their instincts and rely on alternative de-escalation techniques.
Throughout the episode, Jerry aims to plant seeds of awareness and understanding in the minds of his listeners. He emphasizes that while personal safety should always be a priority, officers should also consider the possibility of encountering individuals on the autism spectrum and approach such situations with caution and empathy.
By addressing this perception problem and fostering better understanding, Jerry believes that law enforcement can regain the trust and support of the special needs community, ensuring that families feel comfortable reaching out for help during emergencies.