Maryland Police Training Commission Adopts Training Objectives
by Kevin McManus from 930 WFMD Free Talk:
Proposals to help improve training of police officers when dealing with persons with disabilities were adopted last week by the Maryland Police Training Commission. The recommendations, from the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (the Inclusion Commission), are expected to be incorporated into training programs for law enforcement recruits, according to George Failla, the Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities.
"As we move forward with the next academy or set of academy training sessions for the new recruits, all different academies will need to meet these training objectives," says Failla.
The Inclusion Commission was set up last year by the Governor following the death of Ethan Saylor of New Market. He died following a struggle with off-duty Sheriff's Deputies who were trying to remove him from a movie theater. Saylor had Down Syndrome. The State Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide, that is he died at the hands of another person. The Frederick County Grand Jury investigated the case, but decided not to indict the three deputies.
The Inclusion Commission held hearings in various locations across the state, including Frederick County.
The recommendations from the panel include identifying procedures that police officers can use when encountering someone with disabilities; identifying indicators that a person may have a disability; identifying procedures officers should follow to ensure the safety and calmness of an individual with disabilities; demonstrate communication techniques required to effectively interact with a person with disabilities; explaining the resources available to assist an officer when encountering a person with disabilities; describe procedures an officer can use to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act when encountering someone with disabilities; demonstrating the procedures an officer should employ when encountering someone with disabilities; and demonstrating procedures an officer must employ when coming across someone whose mentally ill.
Failla says the training would involve officers interacting with actual people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "We're working on developing a training curriculum that includes people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and has more simulation, scenario base, and other opportunities for officers to both learn and to demonstrate these techniques," he says.
With the presentation of recommendations to the Police Training Commission, Failla says the Inclusion Commission will look at similar training for other facets of society. "We'll also be working with partners in education, with partners in health care, with partners in transportation and other issues," he says.
"This is a very important first step to begin with our police and the recruits at the academy level," says Failla. "But we really do want to expand the work and build on the partnerships we have in other sectors, like education, with fire and rescue, with hospitals and health care providers and transportation."