Victory! Police in Maryland will be trained for interacting with people with disabilities.

Emailed to everyone who signed Emma’s original petition on 3/31/15
The Governor of Maryland issued an executive order creating a commission to train law enforcement and paramedics for situations involving people with disabilities.
It’s been two years since my brother Ethan died at the hands of three sheriff deputies in Maryland after he stayed too long in a movie theater without buying a second ticket. Our lives have been forever changed and every day we miss his smiling face – it’s been hard.

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.

Please click here to sign this new petition asking Maryland lawmakers to approve the creation of The Saylor Center.

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.

Emma Saylor