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Local officers train to better interact with people with disabilities
ELKHART, Ind. Local officers were in Elkhart Tuesday to discuss how to identify those with a disability. ADEC, a local organization that advocates and serves those with intellectual disabilities.
Every day, police put their lives in danger. But they may unknowingly run into people who are developmentally disabled, which can also be life-threatening. As a result, ADEC offered a free training class for local law enforcement officers.
« I believe when an officer is called to a scene, the first thing they’re looking at is if someone’s acting erratically,” said Jessica Koscher, chief development officer at ADEC.
“They’re going to look and think maybe they’re using drugs or they’re mentally ill.”
But this does not every officer knows how to respond. One of the reasons ADEC decided to offer this class was due to the infamous 2016 shooting of an unarmed caretaker of a man with autism.
The officer’s statement read « I did what i had to do in a split second, » a local advocate group for those with intellectual disabilities are training how officers think in that small time frame.
« This is a way for us to have a better understanding of different folks we’re going to have contact with,” said Ed Windbigler, Elkhart police chief.
“Our goal is to have everybody through the department go through a training similar to this.”
There were three people who were intellectually disabled that spoke to officers in the class as well.