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Autistic Police

‘The uniform and the rules attract autistic people to join the police‘ BBC April 1, 2018

Law enforcement attracts people who are on the spectrum,” he says. “They like the uniform – you get to wear the same thing every day. And you get to enforce the rules.

Hopefully this is not an April Fool’s joke.

A friend recently asked me if I had ever considered joining the military? This article is along the same lines.

My brain does not suffer fools gladly, nor does it accept easily the performance of tasks for no reason. The regimented life of the military, and to a lesser extent, the police, may appeal to some on the autism spectrum. For me, it would be a constant fight to justify in my own mind the rules and the exceptions that both services would impose.

I was an EMT for about 14 years. While it was difficult, the practice in New York State was ideal for me. The evaluation of a patient was scripted, and the treatments that I could provide were detailed. I rarely received a post-call compliment for my care, compassion, and concern but I got the job done.

Now, I will say this. When given clear instruction, I am very good at following it. That is not necessarily a good thing as the defendants at Nuremberg discovered. I have always sought praise and validation from superiors. It’s part of a schema from my childhood. I follow orders if I can understand them. That, I currently believe, is not a part of my autism.

The British police officer quoted above, though, makes a good point. I have always been frustrated when other people do not follow the rules. Socially, I have had a continuing problem finding out what those rules are, In my employment, I have battled with supervisors to get them to express the rules I am expected to follow, and to not evaluate me based upon rules they assumed I knew. That is my autism.

Published inEmployment