Waukesha Police Offering a Special Needs Form
The story made national news last month a North Miami Police Officer shot and injured a therapist working to calm an autistic patient in the street.
Early investigations show police didn't know much about that patient's mental condition in Wisconsin, mental health advocates say that lack of understanding made the situation worse.
Waukesha Police tell CBS 58's Jacob Kittilstad it could be a simple as a two-page form.
"Our first police engagement was age nine," said Waukesha Police Departments.
CBS 58 met a mother, called herself only Robyn, that talked with staff at Waukesha's National Alliance on Mental Health.
She's trying not to identify her son who is 17 now.
He's been diagnosed with various mental health conditions leading to behavior requiring calls to police.
"The very first call was devastating," said Robyn.
The assumption is that this is a child who is choosing to break the rules.
"Certainly for someone who's brain is not working properly, they may be confused, they may be psychotic, delusional. They're not really sure what's going on,” said Waukesha's National Alliance on Mental Health.
But now Waukesha Police have something of a solution.
"This is our special needs form for first responders,” said Captain Dan Baumann.
Baumann goes through the two page free completely optional form adapted from other agencies.
For the past three years families have been able fill it out and bring it to the station in hopes of improving communications with people who might have a hard time communicating.
"What written words they need, verbal communications, what sound or phrases may be key triggers to escalate and/or disengage,” said Baumann. “Some people came back with an attachment of four extra pages of very specific details about her child that they wanted us to know."