Episode 5: Building Relationships with Nicole Ingold
In this engaging podcast interview, Captain Jerry Turning introduces his audience to Nicole, a special needs mom from Berea, Kentucky. Jerry shares his approach to podcasting, which involves educating and providing actionable information about autism to first responders and the community. He emphasizes the importance of understanding and empathy when encountering individuals with autism, especially for road cops who interact with them regularly.
Nicole describes her journey as a special needs parent and her challenges. She explains how she reached out to the Chief of Police in her town to create awareness and understanding about autism. The chief and the community engagement specialist were responsive and engaged in a conversation with her, leading to positive changes within the police department. They organized a field trip for her son's classroom, started discussions about a special needs gala, and even made adjustments during the Christmas parade to accommodate sensory needs.
Jerry applauds the chief for his leadership and highlights the importance of listening to the community and responding to their needs. He emphasizes empathy and understanding should be at the core of law enforcement interactions, as it can alleviate anxiety and fears experienced by families like Nicole's.
Nicole shares her fears about her son encountering the police, emphasizing the need for understanding and avoiding misunderstandings. She wants her son to be seen and properly understood, ensuring that encounters with law enforcement are safe and respectful. Jerry relates to her concerns and expresses his own fears about who will take care of his son when he's gone and the possibility of his son being misunderstood or hurt by someone.
Jerry and Nicole underscore the significance of this issue and the need for proactive efforts from law enforcement and families. They encourage leaders in law enforcement to engage with their communities, listen to their concerns, and take action to create understanding and empathy. By sharing their personal experiences, they aim to bridge the gap between first responders and families, fostering a safer and more supportive environment for individuals with autism.