Excerpt from: 10tv.com (click for full article)
New York state is rolling out first-of-its-kind sensitivity training statewide to help some police officers better identify and interact with people with developmental disabilities.
The First Responders Disability Awareness Training, offered this week in Dutchess County, provides training exercises and protocols on how to assist individuals across the disability spectrum. The Train the Trainer session is open to all in law enforcement, with one stipulation: They must share the course with their police agency.
The training, through Niagara University, is not mandated by the state. However, a council under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office made the course a funding priority and stressed its importance.
"The time has come" for this type of training, said Sheila Carey, executive director of the state Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, which funded the program and extended the initial $650,000 three-year grant through 2015.
New York state has no overarching protocols for arresting and criminally charging suspects with developmental disabilities, said state Division of Criminal Justice Services spokeswoman Janine Kava, adding "agencies have their own guidelines." And state police training on mental illness and developmental disabilities —a physical or mental impairment —is one and the same, state police said.