Laurie Reyes and the Montgomery County Police Autism/IDD Outreach Unit
At our luncheon in May, Main Street was thrilled to grant our first Community Trailblazer Award to Officer Laurie Reyes, presented by Autism/IDD Ambassador Jake Edwards. For those who were not able to attend the luncheon, Officer Reyes is the coordinator for the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) Autism/IDD, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia Outreach Unit. She began this work in 2005 in response to increasing calls regarding missing persons who were disabled or elderly. The Outreach Unit currently averages 3-5 such wandering calls per week. Over the last decade, the program has expanded to promote safety, awareness and inclusivity through a layered approach that includes the following:
Education: Officer Reyes and her colleagues provide education to other police officers and to people with disabilities and their caregivers to promote safe and effective interactions. Officers have partnered with Jake Edwards, who has autism, to provide effective trainings. They have gone all the way to Capitol Hill and the White House to share the Montgomery County Model on Autism/IDD Safety and Awareness.
Outreach: They will speak to anyone who will listen!
: Officers follow up with families after incidents of wandering and provide needed resources.
Empowerment: The work of the Outreach Unit aims to empower officers, caregivers and individuals with disabilities.
Response: Through all of the above, Officer Reyes and her colleagues work to provide a highly-skilled response to all calls involving the Autism/IDD community. They strive to go the extra mile for anyone needing their assistance.
6th Annual Autism/IDD Night Out on September 14
As part of their education and outreach efforts, the MCPD Outreach Unit will host the 6th Annual Autism/IDD Night Out on Friday, September 14, from 6 - 9 PM at the Public Service Training Academy, 8751 Snouffer School Road, Gaithersburg, MD.
Main Street will have a table at the event and we encourage all to attend. This event promotes safety and awareness - and it's lots of fun! The night will offer:
- MCPD Wandering Safety Kit and other safety resources
- Meet and greet police officers from each district
- Tour of county emergency equipment and buses
- Go Team therapy dogs (This is a great opportunity for those who are frightened of dogs to interact with trained dogs and handlers.)
- Food and fun!
Families in need of resources about wandering or other concerns can contact Officer Reyes or Officer Tara Bond at:
Office Phone: (240)773-6525