Program Will Help Police, Those With Autism Interact

  BERKELEY – A new program will help police and those on the autism spectrum interact during stressful situations.

  Getting pulled over is stressful for everyone. For someone who has sensory processing or communication challenges, it can escalate the stress and lead to a difficult situation for all involved.

  Berkeley is joining the Blue Envelope program. If pulled over, the driver shows the blue envelope to the officer. On the outside are instructions for the driver, such as keeping their hands on the wheel. There’s a reminder that the officer may shine their flashlight in the car and that the police car may have flashing lights.

  On the reverse side of the envelope, it tells the officers what to do, such as simplifying requests. There’s instruction to the officer that if the driver becomes upset, to contact a person on the emergency contact card inside. A checked off box will also indicate whether the driver is verbal or nonverbal.

Mayor Carmen Amato and Police Chief Kevin Santucci announce the Blue Envelope program. (Photo courtesy Berkeley Township)

  The driver will keep their driver’s license, vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, and an emergency contact card inside the blue envelope.

  “This program is highly successful in other towns in the state,” said Mayor Carmen Amato. “The Blue Envelope Program was brought to my attention by a resident of our community. Having been involved with the autism community over the years with ‘Light it up Blue’ and the ‘Strike Out Autism Challenge,’ along with different autism groups in our town, I thought it was a good program to have here.”

  “The Blue Envelope Program will help to avoid miscommunication between our officers and drivers that are on the Autism Spectrum,” said Chief Kevin Santucci.

  Anyone interested in obtaining a blue envelope can visit Berkeley Township Police Headquarters, located at 631 Pinewald-Keswick Road or call the non-emergency main number 732-349-1132 Ext: 2126 and an officer will drop off your blue envelope. This program is currently only available to Berkeley Township residents.