HCSO launches Project Guardian to improve interactions with autistic residents

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 9/27/20

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has launched a program dubbed Project Guardian to improve the department’s interactions with children and adults on the autism spectrum. The program …

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HCSO launches Project Guardian to improve interactions with autistic residents

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The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has launched a program dubbed Project Guardian to improve the department’s interactions with children and adults on the autism spectrum. The program establishes communication with families with autistic members to help set expectations for officers and families, an HCSO press release said.

“We continuously work with the community to ensure we are doing all we can to best serve our residents with compassion and understanding,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

The press release noted that flashing lights and other sensory stimulus can be overwhelming for those with autism. The program allows families with autistic members to submit photos and other information about the special needs family member that can help officers make decisions when responding to calls.

The program is part of HCSO initiatives designed to help individuals with mental health or behavioral health issues avoid the criminal justice system by receiving care and intervention appropriate to their needs, the press release said.

More information on Project Guardian is available at: www.harriscountycit.org/paroject-guardian.

“Project Guardian engages the community, builds positive relationships, and embraces public safety as a shared responsibility. It’s an example of what we can accomplish together,” Gonzalez said.

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