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New Law Mandates Autism Training For Florida Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officials gather in a parking lot
Law enforcement officials gather in a parking lot

Florida law enforcement will now undergo training to better understand individuals on the autism spectrum.

House Bill 39, which mandated the training, was filed on Nov. 23, 2016 — four months after a North Miami police officer shot an unarmed behavioral therapist who begged officers in a now-viral video to not shoot the autistic man he was working with.

Autism advocates across the state quickly pushed for proper training for law enforcement, and HB39 answered their call — unanimously passing in March this year.

The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Hollywood. Jenne joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about what the mandate means.

HB39 went into effect Oct. 1. Lee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Lineberger also joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about when that training will begin, and Cathy Zenko of Florida State University's Center for Autism and Related Disabilities talks about what it will entail.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

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