Edison police cruisers to bear autism decals; department relaunches Safe and Sound Program

Marked patrol cars in Edison will include decals supporting autism awareness.

EDISON – In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the Edison Police Department has collaborated with its local union, Edison PBA Local 75, and local businesses Inman Sports Complex and TJM Controls, to include autism decals on marked cruisers in the vehicle fleet, along with seatbelt covers for Edison residents to let officers know when a driver or passenger in a vehicle has autism.

“It is a really great tool our officers can use to determine the needs of the driver or passenger. For instance, a driver or passenger with autism may be reluctant to your offer for help, may not recognize danger, or may be at risk of wandering when removed from the vehicle,” Sgt. Donald Ship said in a prepared statement.

When Officers Michael Piperato and Michael Winters came up with the idea for Local 75 to purchase the decals and seatbelt covers for Edison residents, it was met with no resistance, according to the statement. After speaking about this project, an audit was conducted of the department’s Safe and Sound Program and it was determined that a robust relaunch is needed and that April is a perfect month to relaunch the program.

The Safe and Sound Program assists individuals who are unable to communicate and who may lose the ability to recognize familiar locations or individuals, according to the statement. Individuals who are mentally challenged or those that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia or autism can benefit.

Any individual wishing to enroll someone in the Safe and Sound Program is encouraged to call the Community Oriented Policing Unit at 732-248-6462 for a preliminary screening. Once an application is obtained, the application must be returned in person to the Community Oriented Policing Unit, 100 Municipal Blvd., Edison.

For more information, email [email protected].

This is a joint effort between the Traffic Unit and the Community Oriented Policing Unit, which are commanded by Deputy Chief Robert J. Dudash, Jr., deputy chief of Operations.