How to Create a Safer World
We want to create a safe world for our loved ones. A world free from diseases, pain, troubles, and violence. Such a perfect world to live in. Right? It is our natural instinct to protect our loved ones from harm. Ensuring our loved one’s safety, health, and welfare. Even putting their needs before our own. We constantly ask ourselves: What if something went wrong? Such thoughts periodically cross our minds because we want to make sure that our loved ones are safe, most especially during the times we are not with them.
Many parents worry about their children when they are not with them. We may not understand where they are coming from at first, but when we become parents, we realize that the constant reminders are just their way to help us live a safe life – far removed from violence.
Looking back to the time when we were children and the times we were playing with our friends and then going home with scraped knees, we would see the worried expression from our parents. They never wanted us to feel any pain. As teenagers we were annoyed because we thought our parents were nosy and too protective, especially when we stayed out a little late, but little did we know that they had a hard time sleeping because they were praying for our safety.
From the time that we move out from our parents’ house and start to build our own life as an adult, we realize that the constant reminders are just their way to show how much they love us. There will always come a time where we miss the comforting feeling of being with our parents because we know someone is always there to look after us. Living in a world full of uncertainties as an adult is terrifying and exciting at the same time.
Imagine people with disabilities who are living in this world alone without anyone to look after them. It is very heartbreaking to even think about it. How can we make a safer world for them? How can we help them enjoy life? It’s devastating to watch the news about police violence involving people with disabilities. The people who need protection and care are the same people who are hurt.
Violence Against People With Disabilities Continues
In recent years, law enforcement across the country has come under fire for incidents of police brutality, but little attention is being paid to the police-related deaths of people with disabilities.
When police officers encounter a person with a disability, they do not have the proper training to handle the situation. According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, in 2018, at least 139 people with mental illness have been shot and killed by police.
A 2016 report by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that up to half of the people killed by police across the country have a disability.
In April, Saheed Vassell, a bipolar Brooklyn man, was outside waving a metal object at people walking by. Plainclothes anti-crime officers responded to 911 calls that a man was pointing something that looked like a gun. When they arrived, Vassell pointed the pipe at police, who almost instantly shot and killed him. They didn’t give him a chance.
“He didn’t need to be gunned down,” Jay Locke, a co-owner of a health foods store near the shooting, told The New York Times. “The police know he has a mental disability.”
Locals knew Vassell was mentally ill, and so did the regular patrol officers assigned to the area. They often talked with him and sometimes brought him Jamaican food. Had they been the ones who answered the 911 calls, perhaps he would still be alive.
The horrors of this violence are increasing each year. What is our government’s stand with these cases? Do we have to sacrifice more innocent lives of people with disabilities before we come to realize that the law enforcement’s approach towards this issue should be changed?
1st Choice Family Services wants to help our law enforcement improve their approach in critical situations that involve people with disabilities. That is why we take pride in our EDS partner program because we know that a lot of people can benefit if this program is implemented. It is not just mainly about people with disabilities but all people. Police officers can benefit from this program too. They will have more knowledge about those with disabilities and can learn how to identify certain behaviors they display. With this knowledge, violence can be avoided and perspectives about people with disabilities should also change.
The benefits of EDS (Elite Direct Support) partner program for law enforcement:
- Awareness about people with disabilities and how to take action in critical situations.
- Being able to recognize the signs that the person involved has a developmental disability.
- The use of de-escalation techniques and redirection to control the situation.
- Less violence involving people with disabilities.
- A safer environment for people with disabilities.
We should work hand in hand to make sure that people with disabilities are protected. They are human beings too. The answer is to not use brute force when dealing with critical situations involving the developmentally disabled. They are being deprived of their chance to live peacefully.
Having a better understanding of how to deal with the developmentally disabled without violence will regain trust. Embrace the changes. Implement the EDS partner program in law enforcement!