Eufaula police officers took part in a special training course Thursday that helps them interact with disabled citizens when responding to a scene. Nearly a dozen officers attended the session, conducted by the Interaction Advisory Group.
According to the FBI, people with disabilities are seven times more likely to come into contact with an officer. That’s why instructors say this course is so important.
“Since that prevalent rate is so high and the opportunities are there for them to interact with them, we just want to make sure it’s safe for everybody,” said Dustin Chandler, President and Co-founder of Interaction Advisory Group.
Chandler is also a former police officer.
The training discussed the differences in how responding to a scene with a person who is disabled may be different. Officers were taught how to recognize certain behaviors of people with autism or other disabilities, effective communication strategies, and safe practices to ensure that the citizen and officer are safe.
Lt. Jason Sloop has been with the Eufaula Police Department for 16 years. Sloop says he knows he’s responded to scenes where someone may have had a disability.
“I would say I have come in contact with multiple people that have presented the clues we’re learning about now. It makes me think that I would have handled it slightly different than the way it went at the time,” said Sloop.
He says the class has given him tools to better prepare him to respond to scenes and resolve situations.
The course is a voluntary training course. The representatives who attended the training will present the material to the rest of the department. The training session is offered to police departments across the state.
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