Rome, NY - The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC has been communicating with local police departments over the past couple of years in an effort to improve their understanding of individuals with developmental disabilities, increase awareness of their presence in the communities and to further insure their safety. Sharon Daktor, QA/Incident Review Coordinator at The Arc, has been the acting liaison to law enforcement agencies in both Oneida and Lewis counties. “Special credit goes to Detective Commander Tim Bates of the Rome Police Department for his continued interest in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says Daktor. “He feels very strongly that officers in his department should understand individuals with disabilities living in and around the city.” Sergeant Tom Smith arranged for Ken Vibbard, Education & Training Director for The Arc, to conduct a series of five sensitivity training workshops at the station in Rome. “Refresher training will also be provided in the future,” said Smith.
Detective Bates says, “We recently hired eight new officers, so this is a good time to have this training. We received very positive feedback after the first session.” He noted that there is a considerable population of persons with developmental disabilities living independently or in group residences in Rome. “This is a vulnerable population. We need great insight on the different levels of disabilities and an understanding of people with developmental disabilities in order to deal effectively with them. It will be safer for our officers and safer for the individuals.”
At some time in the future, officers from the Rome Police Department will give a presentation at The Arc in Utica for individuals who live independently, and those who live at home, to address issues of awareness and safety.
The Arc will be happy to give a presentation to your neighborhood group, Neighborhood Watch group or fraternal organization or club, to increase awareness and understanding of persons with developmental disabilities living in your community. For more information, please contact The Arc Speakers’ Bureau at 315-272-1533. If you are interested in scheduling sensitivity training workshops for your staff or other group, please contact Ken Vibbard at 315-272-1611.