On Friday, police officers from around the state got specialized training, learning how to better respond to situations where young people are in crisis.

“I really believe information is the key to understanding these children, the community and really making us all-inclusive,” said Sue Davis, who has a 12-year-old son with Autism. “When he was younger really struggled with regulation so it was a huge concern of mine if he happened to elope from school or from our house that the police would have to come in and help us find him or settle him down.”

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That was part of the inspiration behind their charity, The Foundation for Exceptional Children of Suffield, which sponsored a special training session for police officers.

“It engages our officers to understand the world of mental health, behavioral health,” said Suffield Police Capt. Chris McKee.

The foundation partnered with the Suffield Police Dept. to offer the free training, and is looking to offer it to other departments around the state.

“Responding to those calls and interacting with folks in a crisis, it takes a little bit more of a crisis and skillset that we didn’t focus on before in law enforcement,” McKee said.

More than 30 officers from a number of local departments took part, focusing on how to help kids, especially those with special needs.

“Kids are not little adults so there are ways so there are specific ways in terms of being able to help them, de-escalate them. Slow them down and then figure out what needs to be done,” said Louise Pryers, executive director of CT Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement.

“We wanted to reach out to bring more information more resources so not only can our community understand children with disabilities but accept and embrace them,” Davis said.

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