Md. Police to Get Training about Disabled People

May 22, 2014 - 2:35 PM

Disabled Man Custody Death

FILE - This undated family photo shows Robert Ethan Saylor, who died of of asphyxiation Jan. 12, 2013, during a struggle with three off-duty Frederick County, Md., sheriff’s deputies. A Maryland commission formed in response to the death in custody of Saylor plans to make people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the teachers in a mandatory, statewide police training program. (AP Photo/Courtesy Patti Saylor, File)

SYKESVILLE, Md. (AP) — A commission chairman says Maryland will be the first state to teach all law enforcement officers about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in training sessions led partly by disabled people.

Timothy Shriver, who also chairs the national Special Olympics, says lessons taught by those whom the program aims to serve will have more impact.

Panel members met Thursday in Sykesville to begin shaping the training regimen. They plan to produce a curriculum for use in police academies and in-service training for all 17,000 veteran officers starting in 2015.

The training, mandated by the 2014 General Assembly, came after a man with Down syndrome died in police custody. Robert Ethan Saylor suffered a fractured larynx and suffocated as three off-duty sheriff's deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a movie theater in January 2013.