FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Fayetteville Police Department finished earning a certification on Tuesday that better equipped it to treat and assist people with autism and other sensory needs.

“We are excited to announce that the Fayetteville Police Department and IBCCES (International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards) have partnered to provide a training program focused on autism and other sensory disorders for Fayetteville officers and staff,” Fayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins said. “This training…builds upon our vision to engage the best trained, equipped and committed professionals who demonstrate the highest standards of performance and best policing practices to reduce crime, create partnerships and build trust while treating everyone with respect, compassion, and fairness.”

The training went over common signs or behaviors those with autism may have and taught the officers how to show empathy and understanding, a news release said.

It also communicated communication tips, sensory sensitivities and talked through any safety concerns the department may have when working with those who have autism.

“The goal of the program is to provide additional knowledge and strategies officers can utilize when encountering individuals in the community to assess, communicate, and de-escalate when possible,” the news release said.