SECTION 1. Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 8M the following section:-
Section 8N. (a) A resident who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder may request to have a notation of such diagnosis placed on a Commonwealth issued driver’s license or identification card. Such applicant shall present the registry of motor vehicles with a sworn statement from a qualified medical professional licensed in Massachusetts verifying such diagnosis. Applicant must provide the registry with permission to make public this diagnosis on their Commonwealth issued driver’s license or identification card.
(b) The registrar shall establish procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of this section including, without limitation, application forms to include a waiver of liability for the release of any medical information and an appropriate symbol to be placed on the drivers’ licenses and identification cards.
SECTION 2. Section 116 of Chapter 6 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following section after Section 116E:—
A. The municipal police training committee shall establish within the recruit basic training curriculum a course for regional and municipal police training schools on or before January first, two thousand and fourteen for the training of law enforcement officers in the commonwealth in appropriate interactions with persons diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and also shall develop guidelines for law enforcement response to individuals with autism spectrum disorders who are victims or witnesses to crime, or suspected or convicted of crime.
The course of instruction and the guidelines shall stress positive responses to such individuals, de-escalating potentially dangerous situations, understanding of the different manner in which such individuals process sensory stimuli and language, and appropriate methods of interrogation.
Where appropriate, the training presenters shall include experts on autism spectrum disorders who also have expertise in the law enforcement or corrections field.
As used in this section, “law enforcement officer” shall mean any officer of a local police department, capital and state police, and “correction officer” shall mean any officer tasked with the custody, care, or transport of incarcerated or detained persons. As used in this section, “autism spectrum disorder” shall mean a disability on the autism spectrum, which includes but may not be limited to autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, childhood disintegrative disorder, nonverbal learning disorder, or Rhett's Syndrome, as defined in such professional guidelines as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
B. The course of basic training for law enforcement officers and correction officers shall, no later than January first, two thousand and fourteen, include at least eight hours of instruction in the procedures and techniques described below:
(aa) The nature and manifestations of autism spectrum disorders.
(bb) Appropriate techniques for interviewing or interrogating an individual with an autism spectrum disorder, including techniques to ensure legality of statements made, and techniques to protect the rights of the interviewee.
(cc) Techniques for locating an individual with an autism spectrum disorder who runs away, and returning said individual while causing as little stress as possible to him or her.
(dd) The legal duties imposed on police officers to offer protection and assistance, including guidelines for making felony and misdemeanor arrests, and appropriate techniques for arrest and restraint on an individual with an autism spectrum disorder.
(ee) Techniques for de-escalating a potentially dangerous situation to maximize the safety of both the law enforcement officer or correction officer and the individual with an autism spectrum disorder.
(ff) Techniques for differentiating between an individual with an autism spectrum disorder from an individual who is belligerent, uncooperative, or otherwise displaying traits similar to the characteristics of an individual with an autism spectrum disorder.
(gg) Procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder in a correctional facility.
(hh) The impact of interaction with law enforcement officers or correction officers on individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.
C. All law enforcement recruits shall receive the course of basic training for law enforcement officers, established in subsections (A) and (B), as part of their required certification process.
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