How The EDS Program Could Help Law Enforcement

How The EDS Program Could Help Law Enforcement

Author: Aonist Coles


Every year, hundreds of people are killed by law enforcement, and much attention has been drawn to the high proportions of those killings that involved black lives. Nonetheless, there is another disturbing trend that is rarely discussed. According to a report released by the Ruderman Foundation, more than one third of people killed by the police have a developmental disability (DD). These killings occur as officers who are trained to enforce the law on people without developmental disabilities, enforce the law on people with developmental disabilities, who might require a more delicate approach, because they are highly misunderstood. Some of them are non-verbal and in a crisis they can be easily mistaken for a person that’s intoxicated to an untrained eye.

Furthermore, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) programs which sometimes include the topic of developmental disabilities, but only briefly, are not mandatory or provided in all police departments. Due to this lack of training, 911 calls involving persons with developmental disabilities often end in tragedy, or the suspect with developmental disabilities being thrown in jail. According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, thirty percent of prisoners reported cognitive impairment far higher than those among the general public, where less than five percent of people self-report a cognitive impairment. Given the aforementioned statements, there is an urgent need for law enforcement to utilize more CIT programs. One such training program that could be implemented in the police force, or any other organization that could encounter a person with developmental disabilities, is the EDS certification offered by 1st Choice Family Services. A revolutionary program that fosters a relationship between Direct Support Professionals and local Police. The EDS program helps police officers truly understand some of the most misunderstood people in the community. The fact is that a lot of people with developmental disabilities are very vulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime, the last thing they need is for the people who are supposed to protect and serve to mistake them as a bad guy. This is where The EDS Partners Program could help.



EDS Explained


A step above the certified Direct Support Professional (DSP), EDS stands for Elite Direct Support staff. As the word “elite” implies, EDSs are DSPs who undergo a rigorous training process involving hundreds of hours of combined instructor-based training, computer-based training, and field practice. This extensive drilling has allowed them to master the art of redirection and de-escalation techniques along with physical restraints. The training instills more sophisticated technical and social communication skills in handling people with developmental disabilities in a behavior.

Due to the meticulous training a Direct Support Professional has to undergo to become an EDS, he/she is better equipped to handle persons with all forms of intellectual or developmental disabilities better than all other CIT professionals.

As teamwork is a core component of the EDS framework, importance is placed on defining what needs to be done in a crisis situation and motivating involved peers to follow suit. The EDS certification instills a mindset of an adaptive learner in its student, as each situation is never the same. EDS’s are trained to be both great followers and leaders as the need arises, and their clients are their top priority.


Will Caudle, Head Trainer and Certified EDS and ECS


How to Become An EDS


The EDS training is not available to anyone who is interested, one has to have the following credentials to qualify for the training.

  • Be a State Certified Direct Support Professional
  • Possess a First Aid/CPR Certification
  • Have been Certified by the State to Pass medication
  • Be CPI certified
  • Hold a DSPaths certification
  • Receive a recommendation from a Service Manager


Once an individual possesses the above credentials, then they qualify to enroll in the EDS program. To receive the EDS certification, all of the following courses need to be completed and requirements met:

  • 1 hour Consultation with a Service Manager
  • Complete 60 hours of Computer-based Training
  • Fulfill 40 hours of Instructor-based Training
  • Accomplish 1500 Hours of Practical Field Training and Observation
  • Achieve 48 hours of ongoing annual coaching guided by a Service Manager who is an expert in Clinical Documentation and Client Services (ECS).
  • Pass the EDS exam with a 90 percent score or higher


When all the conditions above are met, then an individual is well equipped and ready to handle any type of DD related crisis.



How Law Enforcement Could Implement the EDS Program


It is important for law enforcement personnel to be trained in recognizing people with Developmental Disabilities from someone exhibiting intoxicated behavior; and this could save someone’s life. By equipping police officers with advanced social tools learned in the EDS program officers will have the best practices when dealing with someone with a developmental disability during a crisis.

Participants in the EDS program are required to complete a 1 hour consultation with a Service Manager, 40 hours of combined CBT (Computer-Based Training) and Instructor based training, as well as pass the EDS exam with 90 percent or higher to receive the certification.

In the EDS Partners Program, participants are required to undergo one hour of one-on-one coaching every week with an EDS Service Manager who is an expert in Clinical Documentation and Client services. These impact meetings happen three times a month. Additionally, once a month, participants are required to sit in on client improvement meetings with staff who work with clients with severe mental health issues and developmental disabilities.

These meetings occur using video conferencing software like Zoom. In these meetings, DSPs, EDSs, Service Managers, and Caseworkers meet to discuss what techniques work well for the client and what doesn’t work. Furthermore, the team members discuss what their client’s behavior looks like at their best and worst, and also what triggers these behaviors. Also discussed are goals that the team intends to accomplish with the client.


How Does This Training Benefit Law Enforcement?


The EDS Partners Program would enable police officers to have a more intimate and better understanding of people with developmental disabilities with expert guidance. When a police officer goes through the EDS training program, their approach to 911 calls involving people with developmental disabilities will be much more efficient. This is because they are equipped with the tools to recognize key indicators, ways to de-escalate, and calm a person with developmental disabilities down without the use of excessive force which sometimes ends in tragedy.

Research has shown that officers who undergo Crisis Intervention Programs (CIT) programs are 80% less likely to be injured during calls involving patients with developmental disabilities. The EDS Partners Programs is an advanced CIT program; hence this percentage will most likely be higher for officers who participate in the EDS program.

Additionally, the EDS program keeps officers more focused on crime. Some communities have found that CIT Programs reduce the time law enforcement spends responding to calls involving those with developmental disabilities or mental health. This allows officers back into the community more quickly.



How Do I Sign Up My Precinct Or Organization For The EDS Program?


The EDS certification is offered by 1st Choice Family Services, and we are an organization that prides ourselves in providing a unique and customized approach to care for those with developmental disabilities. If you are interested in registering your organization or precinct for the EDS certification, feel free to contact us at HR@1stcfs.comor give us a call at (614) 321 2430 to learn more.