A Frederick based non-profit will be assisting.
A new training program is expected to be developed for law enforcement officers and other first responders on dealing with individuals with Down syndrome. That's result of a meeting on Tuesday between the US Department of Justice Community Relations Service, and non-profit organizations which work with persons with Down syndrome, including Family Resource Information and Education Network for Down Syndrome (F.R.I.E.N.D.S.), which is based in Frederick.
The meeting resulted following the death of Robert Saylor of New Market, who had a medical emergency as Sheriff's Deputies were trying to remove him from a movie theater in January. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The State Medical Examiner's Office ruled that Saylor died from asphyxia, and that it was a homicide, that is at the hands of another person. Last week, a Frederick County Grand Jury decided not to indict the three deputies involved in the incident.
A news release from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. says a web-based program would be preferable, but some inter-action should take place with individuals with Down syndrome. It also says there will be challenges in implementing such a program for all of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. There could be some funding issues to work out, along with competition for training time for other worthy causes, the news release says.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. says all participants agreed that this will be a collaborative effort involving the Department of Justice, National Down Syndrome Congress, the National Down Syndrome Society, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as F.R.I.E.N.D.S. They also agreed that the program be easily accessed and flexible enough for all law enforcement agencies and first responders.
The meeting followed an effort by the Justice Department's Community Relations Services to reach out to F.R.I.E.N.D.S. to offer its services.
The Saylor family also attended Tuesday's meeting.
Meanwhile, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is encouraging all law enforcement agencies and other first responders to reach out and work with citizens who have Down syndrome.