The following is a statement from Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. about Autism Awareness Month:

In solidarity with individuals and families affected by autism,  during the month of April police officers with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department will wear patches and badges bearing the colorful puzzle piece design representing Autism Awareness.

I had these badges and patches designed a couple of years ago to help promote inclusivity, education and acceptance within our community.  I’m passionate about making sure that individuals with autism and their loved ones feel respected and valued. We’ll also be taking our message of advocacy to the streets with our patrol car wrapped in the Autism Awareness design. The colors of the puzzle you’ll see emblazoned on this car and on our uniforms symbolize the diversity and complexity of the autism spectrum.

But for me, this month is about more than signs and symbols.  It’s about making a difference.  That’s why  I’m equipping officers with blue bags packed with sensory items and communication tools that can help to calm individuals in crisis or emergency situations.  And we’ll be sharing more about our Project Lifesaver program which offers families of people with autism and other cognitive challenges special tracking technology to find their loved ones who wander and bring them back to safety.

I truly believe the unique ways we are advocating for Autism Awareness demonstrate our commitment to building more compassion and understanding throughout Lake County.

#AutismAwarenessMonth #LakeCountySheriff

-Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.