Mass. lieutenant teaches officers about autism

Lt. Martin Baker takes his family life and makes it an educational experience for fellow officers


By Police1 Staff

NORWOOD, Mass. — Norwood Police Lt. Martin Baker has spent 10 years teaching autism education in police departments across the state. 

Baker’s 22-year-old son Drew has autism. The officer has made it his personal mission to inform fellow cops of how to interact with people on the spectrum, NECN reported.

“One of my biggest fears is Drew being out there without my family that knows Drew, and knows his disability, and knows how to handle him and help him,” Baker said.

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Baker recently taught forty-eight recruits from 22 different departments how to prevent incidents with people on the spectrum from escalating, according to the station. 

When dealing with autistic people, physical contact can cause unintended results and requires a specific approach compared with contacts who are not on the spectrum. 

“A light touch on the shoulder can trigger a violent response from somebody with autism,” Baker said. “Yet if you went in and kind of gave them a bear hug, they’d probably melt right in your arms.”

Drew told the station he’s proud of his father for educating police officers about autism.

“Sometimes, people don’t understand autism,” Drew said. “I’m glad dad is helping them.”

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