New Commission Will Recommend First Responder Training Standards for Handling Disabled Individuals

A September 18 Frederick News-Post article reports that Governor Martin O’Malley has issued an executive order creating a new commission designed to improve first responder training with respect to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The commission will recommend new statewide training standards for first responders.  The commission was formed in response of the death of a man with Down’s syndrome after being restrained by Frederick County deputy sheriffs.  From the article:

In response to the Jan. 12 death of [Robert Ethan] Saylor, who had Down syndrome and died while in the custody of sheriff’s deputies, Gov. Martin O’Malley issued an executive order Tuesday creating the Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  …

The order came almost two weeks after Saylor’s family and supporters delivered a Change.org petition with more than 340,000 signatures to the governor, asking him to improve training and open an independent investigation into Saylor’s death.  …

Delegate Heather Mizeur, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Montgomery County, has been working with the family and sent a letter to O’Malley in July urging the creation of a committee and an independent investigation.

“We have high hopes for this commission and place great confidence in its members,” Mizeur said in a statement released Tuesday.  …

Sen. David Brinkley, R-District 4, welcomed the announcement of the commission’s formation.

“I applaud the governor for that action,” he said.

The article also notes that the Governor is still considering whether to conduct an independent investigation into Saylor’s death.  The deputy sheriffs were cleared in an internal investigation by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and a separate grand jury declined to bring criminal charges after reviewing the case.

From a September 17 Baltimore Sun article:

Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed the national head of the Special Olympics as  chairman of a new committee that will determine how well law enforcement  officers are trained to handle encounters with people with  disabilities.

Timothy Shriver, CEO and chairman of the board at the Special Olympics, will  lead the committee O’Malley announced Tuesday.

The commission’s first report on new first responder standards is due January 9, 2014.

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