The Marion Police Department has launched a new program to help communication with individuals who have autism: the Blue Envelope Program.

If an officer shows up on the scene of an accident or pulls over a vehicle, it is helpful for the officer to know the best way to communicate with everyone in the car. The idea is to have one of Marion PD's blue envelopes stored somewhere in the car, perhaps tucked away in the glove compartment.

If there is a police encounter, the driver can inform the officer that they have a blue envelope. After the driver answers the officer's questions, they can ask if retrieving their license along with the blue envelope is OK.

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Inside will be a contact information card for family members and instructions and tips for the officer about the person's communication needs.  The card is filled out in advance by a family member.

Marion Police
Marion Police

Knowing that a person is on the autism spectrum can be important for many reasons.  For example, a person with autism may struggle to make direct eye contact with people. During a traffic stop, without that information, an officer may read into the lack of eye contact as a sign that the person is being dishonest.

Another selection on the blue envelope information card is the possibility that the person with autism may become aggressive when scared. That is critical information to keep everyone involved safe during the police encounter.

The blue envelopes are free and can be picked up at the Marion Police Department.

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