HOMER, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Outbursts that become physical. Repetitive movements. Lack of eye contact. Not answering simple questions.
For many families with loved ones with mental or physical disabilities, the behavior is familiar, but through the eyes of a police officer, the signs can be confusing, especially in high-stress scenarios.
Training is key and Homer Police just completed a session that outlined de-escalation strategies and techniques in dealing with people with disabilities, like Down’s Syndrome.
“Simply positioning them on their belly on the ground. I didn’t realize that it would compromise their breathing. That’s one of the takeaways and you listen to some of the scenarios and videos they provided and over my career, and I could think back dealing with people with certain disabilities and it was a good reminder,” said Chief Bob Pitman.
Ninety other officers from across New York State took part in the virtual training by the State Divison of Criminal Justice and Niagara University.