Twelve year-old Ryan Paul, like most children, was taught to contact the police in the event of an emergency. Which is exactly what he did last week when his teddy bear, Freddy, went missing. Paul, who is on the autism spectrum, was in great distress and left the 911 dispatcher a frantic message before hanging up. According to AOL, Paul called and said “my teddy bear fell down again. Don’t worry I’ll rescue you again. Goodbye again. See you again”.
Paul’s parents were completely unaware of this call until the police called back and informed them. After letting the police know that it wasn’t a real emergency, the Paul family expected the misunderstanding to end there. However, it is policy that an officer is sent to all 911 hangup calls in the town of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.
Luckily enough, Officer Khari Manzini responded to the job and was well equipped with POAC autism training. This is non-profit organization in New Jersey that provides training to police officers, educators, and families for working with individual on the autism spectrum. Officer Manzini stayed to help recover the teddy bear safely with no injuries to be found.
After completing “Mission: Save Freddy” Paul and Manzini chatted and took pictures together. Paul’s, Robert, later posted about the interaction on Facebook. Thanking Officer Manzini for his patience and kindness throughout the situation. Hopefully this event inspires other public safety officers to go through training. In order to learn how to properly address individuals on the spectrum.