Officer helps boy with autism who called 911 over missing teddy bear

Officer helps boy with autism who called 911 over missing teddy bear
Officer Khari Manzini responded to the scene with kindness and understanding, the boy's father says. The officer had received specialized training from POAC Autism Services, which assists in autism recognition and response scenarios. (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN)

WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, NJ (WPIX/CNN) - When a 12-year-old with autism called 911 for help finding his missing teddy bear, the New Jersey police officer who responded offered kindness and understanding.

When 12-year-old Ryan Paul's beloved teddy bear went missing, he called 911 for help. His father says they have since talked about the incident, and Ryan has learned this wasn't a true emergency. (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN)
When 12-year-old Ryan Paul's beloved teddy bear went missing, he called 911 for help. His father says they have since talked about the incident, and Ryan has learned this wasn't a true emergency. (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN) (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN)

Ryan Paul, 12, has autism, and when his beloved teddy bear went missing Wednesday evening, it left him frazzled. Instead of asking his parents for help, the boy called 911.

“My teddy bear fall down again. Don’t worry, I’ll rescue you again. Goodbye again. See you again,” said Ryan in the phone call.

The 12-year-old then hung up.

Officer Khari Manzini, who had specialized training in autism response scenarios, was accommodating, kind and understanding, the boy's father says. (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN)
Officer Khari Manzini, who had specialized training in autism response scenarios, was accommodating, kind and understanding, the boy's father says. (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN) (Source: WPIX/Tribune/CNN)

When police called back, Ryan’s father, Robert Paul, realized what had happened and explained there was no emergency. But as part of Woodbridge Township Police policy, officers must respond to the locations of hang-up calls.

Officer Khari Manzini arrived at the Paul home, just a few minutes later. It turned out he was well-equipped to handle the situation, having received specialized training from POAC Autism Services, which assists in autism recognition and response scenarios.

"Whenever we can use that training to make sure that not only do we keep ourselves safe but those folks that we’re helping out safe, it makes a great difference,” Manzini said.

In the end, Ryan’s teddy bear was found right on the side of his bed, and the Paul family is grateful for Manzini and the Woodbridge Police Department.

"He just couldn’t have been more accommodating or understanding. It was really great,” Paul said.

What happenes when your 12 yo autistic son dials 9-1-1 because his teddy bear needs "rescue". That's right you get a...

Posted by Bob Paul on Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Paul says he and Ryan have since talked about the incident, and the 12-year-old has learned a missing teddy bear isn’t a true emergency.

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