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The original item was published from 4/3/2023 3:29:00 PM to 4/30/2023 5:05:00 PM.

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Posted on: April 3, 2023

[ARCHIVED] KWPD Supports Autism Awareness Month

Key West Police Challenge Coin

The Key West Police Department is proud to support the Autism Society of the Keys (ASK) to help advocate, educate, and support its mission of helping families affected by autism.

What is the organization's current campaign?  Selling 250 stuffed toy replicas of our K9 Jigsaw, named for the puzzle pieces that represent autism.  Jigsaw came to the department with the financial support of Tom and Becca Ahrensfeld approximately three years ago.

The community can also help support ASK by purchasing KWPD autism awareness patches and challenge coins.  Hope Haley, the wife of Lt. Matt Haley, is leading this drive.  Both the patches and coins are available on eBay.

"Our officers are all trained to understand the special needs of people with autism," said Chief Sean Brandenburg.  "Each vehicle carries a sensory box to help improve communications during a stressful situation.  With this training and equipment, we can help in any number of scenarios, whether the individual is prone to run or non-verbal.  Our school resource officers' cars are wrapped with the autism awareness puzzle pieces, and, during April, our officers wear a blue badge and autism patches to improve community awareness."

Autism Awareness Month with KWPD and K9 Jigsaw

In the photo from L to R: Back row: Captains Jason Castillo and Randy Smith, Hope Haley, Tom Ahrensfeld, Maddie Haley, Becca Ahrensfeld, Chief Sean Brandenburg, and Lt. Matt Haley.  Front row: K9 Officer Tommy Anglin and Jigsaw, Mackenzie Haley, and Maddie Ahrensfeld.

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