Officer Laurie Reyes
Autism/IDD/Alzheimer’s Outreach Program
Special Operations Division
Montgomery County Department of Police
Officer Laurie Reyes has been a Montgomery County Police officer for twenty two years. In 2005, she created and implemented what is now called the MCPD Autism and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Alzheimer's, Dementia Outreach Program and has served in this program since that time. Initially, Officer Reyes developed and implemented the program to address the increased in calls for service involving individuals with Autism and IDD and Alzheimer's who were the focus of a report for a “missing at risk” person. The program has expanded to provide resources way beyond wandering and elopement prevention and awareness to include many other calls and concerns in the Autism/IDD, Alzheimer’s and Dementia communities. As she and other officers became more involved with assisting these communities, , it became apparent to her that she needed to create a multi-level approach to the program: to provide education, follow up, outreach, empowerment and response to individuals with Autism/IDD and Alzheimer's, as well as provide that knowledge to law enforcement, caregivers, and the community.
Instruction given to Montgomery County police recruit during the police provides Montgomery County police officers with the necessary tools to develop positive interactions with the Autism/ IDD and Alzheimer's communities. Officers are also able to receive this training as part of the police department’s Crisis Intervention Training. The members of the Autism and Intellectual/IDD, Alzheimers Outreach program offer guidance and assistance to individuals who have Autism and IDD and to their caregivers. Caretakers gain insight into what they can do to keep their loved ones safe and develop an understanding that the police are a valuable resource when they are in need of assistance. These individuals are referred to the unit by officers, social services, themselves or loved ones, or are reached through proactive programs like the Department’s annual Autism/IDD Night Out. Finally, the community is provided education and awareness through events like Autism/IDD Night Out and by the Autism and IDD awareness campaign created with the assistance of the Department’s Public Information Office. This campaign includes using social media and news outlets to spread awareness that often reach people well beyond the boundaries of Montgomery County. Officer Reyes and the many incredible officers that support the program feel they have created a culture of Autism/IDD and Alzheimer's, Dementia awareness in Montgomery County.
Officer Reyes has received recognition from the White House as a White House “Champion of Change” for Youth and Law Enforcement.In 2018 she was recognized by the Attorney General’s Office for Distinguished Service in Policing and also received a Governor’s Citation for the creation and continued coordination of the Montgomery County Police Autism/IDD, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Outreach Program.