Training For Police

David Dishneau, Associated Press - May 22, 2014

This seems like a good idea, especially the part about training being partly conducted by people with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities. Personally, I would like to see it folded in with training about other disabilities, like deafness (people who may not respond as expected to voice commands), and conditions like Cerebral Palsy where people can be mistaken as drunk or drugged, or assumed to be intellectually disabled. But this is a step in the right direction.

One question still nags me about the Ethan Saylor case. What role did Mr. Saylor’s care aide play? In some of the stories about the incident, it sounded like his aide … an employee of a disability agency paid to help Mr. Saylor in the community … tried to de-escalate the situation and explain to the security guards how best to deal with Saylor’s emotional outbursts. I still wonder whether the guards just dismissed her input, and if so, why. Aides like this don’t wear professional costumes like doctors or nurses. They aren’t always hyper-articulate, authoritative people with Ph.Ds. And they are disproportionately young women. Did they just not take her seriously?

Not that I want things to go too far in the other direction … where nobody listens to the disabled person and automatically looks for an aide to talk to instead. But in a crisis, if there is paid aide, a close friend, or a relative present, they should have a voice and that voice should be heeded as much as possible.