DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A young man from Chester County is on a mission to educate law enforcement about disabilities, using his personal experience. On Friday, he visited his 150th law enforcement department at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.
21-year-old Alex Mann said this latest visit is another step in his goal to build a better relationship between law enforcement and the autism community.
“I made it my mission really because I am diagnosed with autism, to spread awareness,” he said.
For three years, Mann has visited police departments across Pennsylvania, teaching law enforcement how to interact with people on the spectrum.
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“Be patient, be calm, be understanding,” he said.
While Friday marked his 150th visit, his impact has been wider than he ever expected.
“I get messages, emails all the time from law enforcement that I may not have even met before, saying how much I’ve helped them,” he said.
State police say working with Mann is part of building relationships with the community.
“It’s very important to our mission to serve and protect to really understand and learn from people like Alex,” director of communications Lt. Adam Reed said.
PSP has also started Crisis Intervention Training which teaches troopers to better handle mental health emergencies
“It’s important for us in law enforcement to have that trust,” Reed said.
For Mann, these visits are not just about educating police; this is also about supporting their work.
“Know that there are people out there like me who support them and care about them,” he said.
Mann said this is far from his last stop. He plans to keep spreading his message to as many law enforcement departments as possible.