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IMPD officer captured in photo calming boy with autism receives praise

Posted at 1:08 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 13:22:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A photo of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer kneeling down near a young man has gotten a lot of attention online — in a good way — and is helping to draw attention to autism awareness.

IMPD Southeast District posted the image on their Facebook page on October 25. It shows Officer Richard El kneeling on the ground near a young boy who looks scared.

According to the post, officers were flagged down by a frantic father after his 12-year-old son with autism who had run away after a fight with his sister.

As the officers searched for the boy, one of them spotted him and tried to help defuse the situation.

"Officer El spotted the child a few blocks away and stopped nearby," the post read. "Being trained in Crisis Intervention, as most IMPD officers are, he knew the importance of having a calming presence, being patient, positive, and coming to his eye level," the post read.

Officer El lowered himself to the young man's level and talked to him to calm him down until his father could get there to pick him up.

"Officers must be ready to respond to any situation because you never know what is going to happen. It could be anything from a sudden fight with a wanted violent felon during a traffic stop to helping in a situation like the one above where you’re calming a frightened autistic child," the post reads.