Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff’s Office Trains Deputies on Autism

January 14, 2008
Contact: Elise Schaffer, PIO Phone: (608) 284-6142 Email:
Sheriff's Office

Research indicates that persons with developmental disabilities, including a rapidly rising autism population, are approximately seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement professionals than others. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is working to ensure that those contacts go smoothly by training deputies about autism and the challenges they may face when coming into contact with an autistic child or adult. Pam Stoika, a Behavioral Psychologist from Integrated Developmental Services (IDS), has been training deputies and detectives for the past two weeks. In addition to the training that is currently underway, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office is raising funds to become a Project Lifesaver agency. Project Lifesaver is an international program that trains law enforcement to use state of the art technology in assisting those who care for victims of related mental dysfunction disorders such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome, and Alzheimer’s and victims who become lost. Three Dane County Deputies have already completed the training required to operate the equipment and train others within the department. The program is being done in partnership with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Dane County needs to raise approximately $8,000.00 to start operating Project Lifesaver. That dollar amount includes two monitoring bracelets to be worn by people who are at risk of wandering. Each additional bracelet will cost $300.00. For more information on the program, log on to Donations to the Dane County Project Lifesaver program can be sent to Friends of Project Lifesaver c/o Sgt. Lorie Wiessinger at the Dane County Law Enforcement Training Center, 5184 Highway 19, Waunakee, WI 53597. ###