Morris County Sheriff and Corrections Officers are selling vivid, multicolored patches to draw attention to Autism during National Autism Awareness Month in April and will donate sale proceeds to a charity that serves clients with the disorder.
The patches that sell for $5 apiece bear the name “County of Morris Sheriff” and have the words “Autism Awareness” printed in a circle against a background of yellow, pink, red, green, orange and blue puzzle-shaped pieces.
Morris County Sheriff’s Officer Travis Somerville is handling patch sales on behalf of the Bureau of Law Enforcement and P.B.A. 151, while Bureau of Corrections Lieutenant Mike Schweizer has organized patch sales for the bureau and its P.B.A. 298.
“We like raising money for charities, and people and kids like seeing all the different patches. This will help shine a light on Autism,” Lt. Schweizer said.
Officer Somerville works in the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s Community Outreach and Planning Section, where officers – among other duties – oversee Project Lifesaver, a program whose 120 clients include people with Autism.
Project Lifesaver clients, including people with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease, wear ankle or wrist bracelets equipped with transmitters that enable police and rescue personnel to find them if they go missing.
“I support the spirit and enthusiasm behind the sales of the patches. Anything we can do to increase understanding of Autism – Autism Spectrum Disorder – is a noble cause,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.
In October of 2018, the Sheriff’s Office Bureaus of Corrections and Law Enforcement sold pink patches to heighten awareness of breast cancer and were able in January 2019 to donate $3,000 to the Carol W. and Julius A. Rippel Breast Center at Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care.
Anyone interested in purchasing an Autism patch can call Lt. Schweizer at 973-631-5433 or Officer Somerville at 973-285-6681.
National Autism Awareness Month was first declared in April 1970 by the Autism Society to increase awareness of the complex mental and developmental disability.