State Bar Foundation Grant Supports Law Enforcement Initiative

January 07, 2024

New Jersey State Bar Foundation Logo Autism New Jersey is grateful for the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s co-sponsorship of a first-of-its-kind initiative to ensure safe and positive interactions between law enforcement and individuals with autism. With nearly $82,000 in start-up funding from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, made possible by the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey, Autism New Jersey’s Law Enforcement Initiative will bring together the autism community and law enforcement leaders to highlight exemplary existing autism-friendly law enforcement practices, build consensus, and increase the adoption of autism-friendly administrative policies and on-duty practices statewide.

“We are incredibly excited and humbled by this work,” said Autism New Jersey Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Buchanan. “We work with the autism community every day, but this funding gives us the opportunity to invest in relationships with the law enforcement community and develop autism-friendly law enforcement practices that will benefit everyone.”

With support from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s grant funding, Autism New Jersey will be hiring a project manager and a professional with law enforcement experience to lead these efforts. The Law Enforcement Initiative will be delivered in three phases:

  • Gather information and develop relationships, as evidenced by our successful Law Enforcement Leadership Roundtable that was held in Atlantic City on October 18, 2023;
  • Build consensus and disseminate best practices; and
  • Advocate for consensus-based standards statewide.

The day-to-day objectives of the initiative include external relationship development, liaising with our Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, conducting data analyses from our two surveys for law enforcement professionals and parents/autistic individuals, and leading statewide committees on best practices in training; registries; driving-related issues; and working with individuals, families, and group homes inform the development of statewide standards.

“Part of the Foundation’s mission is to support other nonprofit organizations in New Jersey to help educate and reach more communities, said Jack Gillick, vice president of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and co-chair of the Foundation’s co-sponsorship oversight committee. “We are proud to support Autism New Jersey’s efforts to serve the autism and law enforcement community through their program.”

Given the complex needs of individuals with autism, our mission-driven approach, strong connections with the autism community and the state, and the resounding enthusiasm from law enforcement to date, Autism New Jersey is equipped to profoundly impact all New Jersey residents by building a solid statewide foundation for safe and positive interactions between law enforcement and individuals with autism. We thank the New Jersey State Bar Foundation for its part in supporting this work and our mission!

For more information about Autism New Jersey’s Law Enforcement initiative, please contact us at

About the New Jersey State Bar Foundation

Founded in 1958, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation has been dedicated to carrying out the charitable and educational endeavors of the organized bar, specifically the New Jersey State Bar Association. In 1988, when it moved to its current location at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, the Foundation made a concentrated effort to expand its public education efforts. Today, the Foundation stands as a model for law-related education organizations across the country.

Believing that “informed citizens are better citizens,” the Foundation strives to educate everyone in New Jersey—from students to senior citizens—about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Are you a law enforcement officer, prosecutor's office, or work in a related professional role? We welcome the opportunity to connect with you. Please email us at