WARREN COUNTY, NJ – The Warren County Police Chiefs Association has announced the implementation of the Blue Envelope Program. The program is for individual drivers who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The purpose of the Blue Envelope Program is to improve the interaction between a diver with ASD and a police officer on a traffic stop. The envelopes will contain the driver’s insurance card, registration and driver license, so they can hand it to the officer during a traffic stop.
In 2020 police departments in Connecticut established this same program and in September of 2022, the Hunterdon County Police Chiefs Association were the first to implement this program in New Jersey.
The goal is to avoid misunderstandings between the officer and the driver. Drivers should tell officers if they keep the envelope in either their glove box, visor or console. Once they hand over the envelope, the driver and officer can follow tips and instructions on how to communicate with each other.
The instructions warn the driver that the officer might have a radio and flashing lights on their car, which can be disruptive for people with autism. The envelope also directs the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel- even if the officer is not by their car. The envelope also instructs police to allow the driver extra time to respond, to simplify their requests, and to clearly tell the driver when they may leave.
All officers within Warren County will be trained on the Blue Envelope Program. The association is also working with Senator Doug Steinhardt and Assemblyman John DiMaio in an attempt to have this program as a possible state wide initiative.
The Blue Envelopes have been distributed to each of the Police Departments, Sheriff Department, the Prosecutor’s Office, and State Police Barracks within Warren County and will be available for people to pickup after March 3.