Victory! Police in Maryland will be trained for interacting with people with disabilities.
But today I have some good news to share with you. Because of people like you who signed my petition, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley issued an executive order creating a commission to help police and first responders better respond to situations involving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And starting this year, all police academies in Maryland are required make cadets go through these trainings.
My family never could have imagined achieving this without your help. Thank you.
The commission created by the governor is called the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and it is chaired by Dr. Timothy Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics. My mom Patti attends all of the commissions meetings.
They have already made a recommendation to the Maryland State legislature that we need your support to pass: the creation of The Ethan Saylor Center for Self-Advocates as Educators. The Saylor Center will be a place where people with disabilities can play a role in training the police officers. Police are already telling us that the time spent training with self-advocates is the most informative part of the training.
One of the terrible ironies of losing my brother this way was that he really loved police officers – he would even get in trouble for calling our local police department too often just to talk to them! I know Ethan would have loved nothing more than to help police officers better understand what it’s like to be a person with Down syndrome.
While we weren’t able to get the governor to issue a new state investigation into Ethan’s death, I want to let you know that the Department of Justice is currently investigating the case for civil rights abuses. We hope their investigation will be over soon and bring further closure for our family.
Thank you again for your continued support.