Woodbridge police officer answers the call to save teddy bear in peril

Posted: Updated:
WOODBRIDGE -

A Woodbridge police officer has been dubbed a hero for saving the day for a 12-year-old boy with autism.

Ryan Paul was playing in his room when he lost his beloved teddy bear. So instead of calling his parents for help, he called 911.

“The teddy bear fell down again. Don’t worry, I’ll rescue you. Goodbye again, see you again,” Ryan could be heard saying on the call.

But Ryan hung up the phone before a dispatcher could speak with him, so Officer Khari Manzini responded to the home.

“We came as fast as we could,” the officer says. “Ryan was very happy to see me and I was actually happy to see him happy and that we had gotten the teddy bear back.”

Officer Manzini says that when he learned that Ryan had autism, his specialized training kicked in – training he received from the organization POAC Autism Services.

“We took a picture…just getting to know our residents is a major part of it, of making them feel comfortable,” he says.

"To know that it was one of the officers that we trained and that it went perfectly, it made me proud of our organization and even prouder of the officer who responded,” says POAC executive director Gary Weitzen.

Ryan’s dad says that he is proud of his son for knowing what to do in an emergency.

“We just need to fine-tune it a little bit as to when it actually gets used,” says Robert Paul.

POAC Autism Services has trained more than 67,000 first responders in New Jersey in autism recognition. The group says that the training has saved lives.

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