- Patti (Saylor) Richmond is a force to be reckoned with
- Training is not going to be easy
- In Ethan’s case, “law enforcement” was not requested
Next up was Patti (Ethan's Mom). Pictures of Ethan were presented in a slide show as she talked about his life and goals for the future. She explained that some days are worse than others, but that she and her family were advocates for change when Ethan was alive, and they will continue on that path now that he is gone. She also shared a valuable insight that she learned as Ethan’s mother - the best training happens when relationships are formed.
The bulk of the presentation was divided between David Whalen of Niagara University in New York and Sgt. A.D. Paul of the Plano Texas Police Department. Both men presented helpful information for anyone interested in how the training process is taking place and how to start new programs.
A few highlights that I found interesting:
- 50-80% of an officer’s encounters are with a person with a disability
- A person with a disability is 7 times more likely to be the victim of a crime
- “If we rely on just training we’re not doing them (first responders) or the people we represent justice.” – Whalen
- “Training should be an opportunity to work with, not just present to.” – Whalen
- Ethan’s case is now used as an example in Dallas training – Plano
- No state has “across the board mandatory” training [of this kind] – Whalen
For more information on the New York training program that exists, visit their website: www.fr-dat.com
Sgt. Plano’s slides regarding CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) and things to consider when initiating a training program will be part of the tools available through NDSS.
My thoughts, for what they're worth:
Another thought that resonated with me after listening to all the speakers is this: Police were not called the night Ethan went to that theater, mall security was. So, if we do manage to train every single “first responder” (which is a very tall order), we still have a lot of work to do in the general public. I’m going to have to choose not to dwell on this fact for today… We can only go at this one step at a time, but perhaps the training materials that are developed can be used in other sectors of the community as well.
It will require a great deal of dedication to see that this idea takes hold in communities across the country. I for one was grateful today, as a parent, that there are people who have taken this seriously. I’m grateful to Patti for continuing to share her story and fight for something that will benefit us all. I’m grateful to the national organizations that are spearheading this effort and the local groups who will no doubt work diligently in their communities. And, I’m heartened to know that there are parents, like us, “in the trenches” who know the climate and the in’s and out’s of how to get this done.
My last thought….
Ethan IS working with law enforcement and he’s one of the good guys.
Now, let's get that investigation!