The Arc Maryland to Lead Police Training for Disability Response
Training to help first responders interact more effectively with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities Self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be an integral part the training program
By: The Arc Maryland
The event is hosted by Maryland’s Disability Response Team (DRT), which is chaired by Richard Davis, Public Policy director for The Arc Maryland. (A full list of the DRT is below.) The Arc Maryland is the state’s largest statewide grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to the rights of persons with I/DD. The chapter was selected as one of five Chapters of The Arc nationwide to support the implementation of The Arc U.S.’s NCCJD “Pathways to Justice” Training program to build the capacity of the criminal justice system to effectively serve and protect people with I/DD in the State of Maryland.
“Bringing together law enforcement, victim advocates and people with I/DD is a great opportunity to develop the best training possible for our first responders. Working together, we can achieve better outcomes, save lives and protect our men and women in uniform,” said Cristine Marchand, executive director of The Arc Maryland. “Having individuals with I/DD as active participants and trainers in the program is critical to not only presenting authentic scenarios, but inclusive of their abilities to share their disabilities’
"The Montgomery County Police Department remains committed to serving all residents who comprise our diverse community. Training and preparing for responding to incidents involving individuals with disabilities is an important part of that commitment,"
While individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (including children, youth and adults with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome) represent only three percent of the population, these individuals are disproportionately victimized and disproportionately suspected of criminal activity— seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than the general population. People with I/DD may face unique issues including a lack of understanding of police commands, pretending to understand, and trying to please authority during interrogating. A person appearing to be non-compliant may actually not understand or take longer to process what is happening.
According to the Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 90,000 Maryland citizens are individuals with I/DD. The Commission was established following the tragic death of Frederick County resident Ethan Saylor, who had Down syndrome, and is an effort to improve the training of law enforcement, paramedics and other first responders to better respond to people with I/DD.
Disability Response Teams consist of representatives from law enforcement, legal, victim advocacy, self-advocacy and other disability advocacy organizations. The Arc Maryland’s DRT team includes:
· Richard Davis, Team Leader, The Arc Maryland
· Officer Scott Davis, Montgomery County Police Department
· Aaron Kaufman, Self-Advocate, The Arc Maryland
· Ken Capone, Self-Advocate, People on the Go
· Vicki Mills, Self-Advocate, People on the Go
· Sheriff Darren M. Popkin, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
· Samantha Prinsen, Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center
· Mat Rice, Self-Advocate, People on the Go
· Patti Saylor, Health Link LLC, Frederick County
· Ginny Sessions, National Down Syndrome Society
· Teri Sparks, Maryland Disability Law Center
· Erica Wheeler, Self-Advocate, Carroll County
· Sara Hart Weir, National Down Syndrome Society
· Tracy Wright, Self-Advocate, The Arc Maryland
For additional information and research about interactions between law enforcement, victimization and I/DD, please visit these resources:
About The Arc Maryland:
The Arc Maryland is the state’s leading statewide advocacy organization dedicated to the quality of life and rights of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization mission is dedicated to creating a world where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and enjoy equal rights and opportunities. For more information, please visit our website at www.thearcmd.org.