Niagara Gazette

June 25, 2013

Disabilities the focus of police training at NU

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A different kind of student will be on campus at Niagara University Monday and Tuesday — law enforcement officials.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Public Safety and the Niagara University First Responders Disability Awareness Training Office are conducting a series of "Disability Awareness Training for Law Enforcement" courses at the college. The series of courses is designed specifically for police officers.

Studies show that 50 to 80 percent of an officer's encounters are with an individual with a disability while individuals with disabilities are seven times more often the victim of a crime.

As part of the series, a free, two-day training session is being offered Monday and Tuesday.

The ability to respond to individuals with disabilities has posed varying challenges to police officers across the country. High-profile cases have exposed the need for more involved awareness and education regarding the characteristics and challenges some individuals pose.

The presentation brings together education on disabilities while enhancing sensitivity. Included in this are disabilities defined and appropriate response, characteristics and how to identify disabilities, the role of caregivers and service providers, candid video instruction, federal and municipality roles and responsibilities, the perspective of the disability community, victimization, challenging scenarios and behaviors and how to address them, current trends and topics, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and etiquette and interaction skills. An extensive amount of resources will be provided.

Specific topics covered include:

• Disabilities defined specific to law enforcement

• Service provision and supports and how to develop a collaborative relationship

• Progressive approaches to addressing emergency situations

• Emergency services-service provider collaboration

• Challenging behaviors and responsiveness

• Municipality role and responsibility • Victimization and the disabled

• Proper etiquette and interaction skills

Other training sessions are being offered in Orange, Broome and Onondaga counties.