A call for the EDS program to be implemented in law enforcement

What can radically change our way of thinking is the belief of some wrong doing or the realization that things we thought to be true are false. With any subject that has multiple views, it’s important to understand different opinions, rather than dismissing them. We need to understand not only what others believe but why they believe it. We need to ask ourselves whether we look to justify our beliefs at the exclusion of anything that might contradict our beliefs.

Our belief that police officers are here to protect us is the main reason why in every critical situation that happens, we usually call for them first. There will always be good and bad officers, but there is no reason to assume the majority of policemen are bad.

We should not blame them for the sins of society. What we can do educate law enforcement. Our main goal for the implementation of the EDS program in law enforcement is to educate officers about handling a crisis that involves people with disabilities. It’s a program that can help save lives. By enforcing this in every state, we can be at peace knowing that people with disabilities have more chances to be included in society without the fear of being misunderstood.

 

Will Caudle, Head Trainer and Certified EDS and ECS

 

Since the EDS program focuses more on equipping police officers with advanced social tools, officers will have the best practices when dealing with someone with a developmental disability during a crisis. A crisis is different from a problem or an emergency. While a problem may create stress and be difficult to solve, the family or individual is capable of finding a solution. Consequently, a problem that can be resolved by an individual or a family is not a crisis. An emergency is a sudden, pressing necessity. It requires immediate attention by law enforcement or other professionals trained to respond to life-threatening events.

If officials refuse to enact these simple, needed solutions by implementing the EDS program in law enforcement, people with disabilities face the possibility of having their rights violated and many find themselves traumatized. What police officers should know is that when they are interacting with a person with a disability, they have a legal obligation to proceed in ways that take into account the person’s disability.

The steps are simple. It should be considered the main option before resorting to use of force or violence. It is about focusing on a de-escalation. It starts with learning to be calm, analyzing the situation, becoming less threatening – as much as possible, and learning to identify if an individual involved in the crisis displays behavior that can be recognized in people who have disabilities. Implementing these practices across the board would benefit everyone — people with disabilities, the general public and law enforcement.

The de-escalation technique teaches technical holds so no one gets hurt; deflection; how to gauge an incident; and how to talk an agitated person “down” and diffuse a potentially dangerous situation. It allows safety to be the number one priority, people to be heard and everyone to work as a team. With this equipped knowledge through our EDS program, it could reduce the arrest of people with developmental disabilities and people with mental illnesses. It is designed to also improve attitudes and knowledge about people with disabilities.

The rising number of cases that involve our authorities and people with disabilities can be lessened if we are open to some changes and innovation that can help us become better servants and citizens. It is of great importance that law enforcement agencies and other agencies that offer the EDS program, such as 1st Choice Family Services, work together to ensure both public and officer safety when responding to crisis situations involving people with developmental disabilities.