This morning, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the creation of a state commission to improve training for law enforcement personnel, paramedics, and other first responders on how to engage individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) released the following statement:
"This is what can happen when activists engage, educate, prod, and even demand that injustices be addressed. It's been a long nine months of silence since Ethan's death but today we know that his loss will not be in vain.
We have high hopes for this Commission and place great confidence in its members. Together we will turn the page on this tragic chapter and create new pathways of understanding and engagement with the IDD community."
In July, Mizeur authored a letter to Gov. O’Malley calling for "a state commission or task force on treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities with a focus on designing statewide standards that would be implemented in future workforce trainings for the various state agencies."
Two weeks ago, Mizeur joined the Saylor family and national advocates to present 340,000 Change.org petition signatures to Gov. O’Malley calling for better training for police officers on how to treat people with developmental disabilities.
Mizeur has been a longtime advocate for people in the disabilities community. In 2010, she successfully led the charge to reinstate $25.7 million in funding that had been cut from the Developmental Disabilities Administration.
O'Malley said in a statement that he created the panel partly in response to the death in January of a man with Down Syndrome after a struggle with three off-duty deputies in Frederick.
The commission will evaluate the training received by people who interact with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It will develop and issue recommendations about training standards.
O'Malley named Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, to head the commission.