First responders to train to help people with autism

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Troy resident Lakisha Louissant called Troy police three years ago concerned that her son, who has autism, was having a medical emergency.

“He had taken some Tamiflu and it wasn’t working with him so I called to get him an ambulance,” Louissant told members of the council Tuesday. “When the responders came in, there were too many people. It was overstimulating for him. I tried to tell them that there were too many people coming in. He wasn’t being rebellious, butwith autism you have a fight or flight reaction. He just couldn’t understand what was going on.”

Louissant was addressing the council hoping to increase awareness of how to meet the needs of people with autism.

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In response to Louissant’s concerns, Troy Fire Chief Michael Stephens and Troy Police Chief Randall Barr are bringing their personnel to a training session on April 10, where a retired police chief from Tuscaloosa will teach the responders.

Stephens said that’s important because the trainer must be in good standing with the fire services and must also have a relative who has autism. The trainer for this session has a grandson with autism.

The class will be held at the new facility at CGI and is open to people outside of law enforcement, although it is tailored to them, Stephens said.

Louissant said she believes awareness of autism and how to help people with the cognitive delays is an important part of making Troy a better place.

“For me, where awareness is present, solutions can follow; where solutions follow, tragedy can be decreased,” she told council members.

The council, absent Stephanie Baker and Robert Jones, also made moves to fund $1.3 million in new vehicles for the fire department and environmental services department.

Mayor Jason Reeves said the original plan was to order the trucks now and pay for them in the next budget year, but it was determined that the vehicles had to be paid for this year instead.

The council approved taking out a loan to fund the purchase of the trucks and made amendments to the budget to reflect the changes.

The council also approved an emergency declaration to have a garbage truck repaired in the meantime that is currently leaking oil.

Vaughn Daniels, director of the Environmental Services Department, said that the truck is in danger of completely breaking down, which would force the department to start working overtime and weekends to collect the trash.

With the emergency declaration approved, Daniels said the truck will be fixed within one to two weeks. Under normal bid circumstances, it would have taken six to eight weeks to approve a repair for the truck.

The council also got its first look at an ordinance during the meeting that would establish certain regulations on “small cell facilities” in the City of Troy.

Planning and zoning administrator Melissa Sanders explained that the FCC has passed a new rule that would limit municipal governments’ ability to restrict the placement of small 5g cell satellites on public right-of-ways.

Utilities Manager Brian Chandler said the new technology would move away from massive cell towers to the implementation of numerous small cell satellites.

“It would take quite a lot of them to cover Troy,” Chandler told the council.

Chandler and Sanders said the ordinance is still under legal review. The deadline to pass the regulation is April 15. The council will meet again on Tuesday, April 9 to have a second reading of the ordinance at its regularly scheduled council meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a retail beer and wine license for Francesca’s Restaurant, which will be opening soon on the Square.

• Annexed a property upon request by a family whose home was outside of the city limits although their front yard was inside city limits.