Young man visits 71 police departments to raise awareness

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ASPartOfMe
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29 Feb 2020, 4:16 am

Malvern teen visits 71 police departments to raise autism awareness

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Alex Mann, 19, has put 4,500 miles on his car in the past two years visiting police stations within driving distance of his home in Malvern, Pennsylvania. He says he wants police to know he supports them.

"I've been everywhere from Pottstown to Radnor, to Lower Pottsgrove," Mann said, for a total of 71 police departments.

The 71st visit was Thursday to Prospect Park Police Department in Delaware County. Chief Dave Madonna said while his department may be small, he likes to go big for people.

"I guarantee you I'll have more fun than Alex today," he said.

Chief Madonna arranged for Mann and his family to have a police escort into town. When the Mann's arrived at the station, officers representing half a dozen other police and fire stations greeted him outside. Inside, the chief threw a birthday party for the 19-year-old, who's turning 20 next month.

"It just makes my heart full because they're willing to embrace him for who he is," said Linda Mann, Alex's mom.

Mann is hoping officers are getting something out of all of his visits too. He has autism and wants police to understand what it's like to interact with someone with a disability.

"They should be aware of that in case they come across a person with a disability that they may see as non-compliant or resisting," said Mann.

"There's also the story of a boy, too, who has a lot of difficulties building social relationships with kids his own age," said his mother.

"I may be making a lot of friends in the process, well, I hope I am," said Mann.

Chief Madonna says he hopes that his grand gestures during Mann's visit shows his department thinks of the young man as a friend too.

I’m impressed


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SharonB
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29 Feb 2020, 10:27 am

How cool. Last week I went to a Cop Talk event in my neighborhood and talked to a police sergeant --- about how I had been arrested at age 19 b/c I behaved "inappropriately" (a straight-A, by-the-book student, with emotional dysregulation) and that to this day traffic stops are scary for me (30 yrs later) --- an upstanding citizen - yet afraid for the trouble caused by my unusual responses (I cried non-stop through my most recent traffic stop and thankfully was not arrested b/c I remained in my car), and then my sister and mother who were victims of crimes were dismissed b/c their responses were not "appropriate" either. He assured me that his dept has been training in differentiating danger from personal crisis and unexpected responses. I said I was concerned for my ASD-like daughter and he suggested bringing her by the police dept periodically to be familiar with police officers. Ironically my (NT) husband had a traffic stop this week and was cool and calm as usual --- my NT son was chill, my ASD-like daughter was unnerved. Time for that first visit. I feel kind of selfish wanting to be considered (accommodated); I definitely would like to keep in mind that it's for our community - as this young man has done. Thanks for sharing. Timely for me.



Bravo5150
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11 Jun 2020, 7:52 am

I just noticed this thread. I wonder how the guy's efforts are doing with the whole covid situation.



warrier120
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11 Jun 2020, 4:14 pm

This is wonderful to hear!


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