Richmond, Va. (WTVR) – The family of a 9-year-old Central Virginia boy is pressing lawmakers to help police and first responders better communicate with people with autism.
Pam Mines, the inspiration behind Senate bill 367 said she does not know a lot about politics or policies, but believes in being pro-active protecting her 9-year-old son, JP.
Mines worries some people with autism may trouble communicating their disability to police. As a result, those citizens could be interpreted to be ignoring officers or acting unruly.
“I really wanted to make sure my son was protected in the event, a situation came about, where he is faced with law enforcement and they’re not aware he has autism,” Mines said.
Mines came up with the idea of a special code on Virginia driver’s licenses and identification cards that would alert law enforcement they are dealing with someone with autism.
Mines contacted Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico who introduced the bill.
“We need to give police officers additional tools,” said McEachin. “We need to give first responders additional tools, so that on a license or on an ID card, that’s completely voluntary… so they know this person has this malady.”