Mason City man looks to start autism training for area law enforcement

Local man looks to start autism training for area law enforcement

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 8:30 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2019 9:54 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa- He’s a happy-go-lucky kid:

"I always take him on the golf cart and that’s his thing,” said Dalayne Germundson.
He’s talking about his 14 year old son. In many way’s he’s like any kid, likes being outside eating ice cream, but he has autism.
“It’s hard to explain,” Dalayne said holding back tears. “He could be good for six, seven months, and bam, outbursts.”

Gabe had an outburst Sunday; biting, punching pinching and even hurting himself. He’s nonverbal so explaining to dad what’s wrong isn’t easy. Germundson called for an ambulance to come help and an officer showed up as well.
“I told him we’re waiting for an ambulance and that my boy was autistic,” he said. “Then he wanted to put Gabe in handcuffs.”
Dalayne refused saying it would make matters worse. He said he was stunned to learn the officer had not been trained on how to handle a child who has autism. Now is hoping to educate local law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of our training covers a wide variation of issues,” said Chief Deputy Dave Hepperly with the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office. “We are not trained in just a specific area like autism.”
Germundson has already teamed up with a local professional to start a class. It would include a 30 minute video. He wants to make sure what happened Sunday isn’t repeated.
“I have no blame or hatred towards the officer you know?” he said. "He just isn’t educated."

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