DIDD Conducts Training for Law Enforcement

Friday, November 20, 2015 | 07:41am

GATLINBURG—The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) conducted the latest in its series of training sessions for law enforcement officers Thursday.  More than 50 training officers from across the state attended the session on interacting with people with disabilities at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Officer’s Association (TLETOA) conference.

Bruce Davis, PhD, Director of Behavioral and Psychological Services and Steven Sutherland, Assistant Director of Incident Management, presented the training session.  This session and another in May of this year were “train the trainer” events with TLETOA.

“These sessions where we can train the men and women who are responsible for the ongoing training at their respective departments are really important,” said DIDD Commissioner Debra K. Payne.  “We want to spread this training as far as we can to improve the outcomes of law enforcement encounters for all Tennesseans with disabilities.  With the enthusiastic help from our partners at TLETOA, we’re reaching more officers than we ever could on our own.”

The DIDD training is designed to supplement an officer’s other law enforcement training and experience by giving deeper insight into the estimated 2% of Tennesseans who have an intellectual disability (ID).  The training defines ID, discusses how someone with ID might not respond in a typical way during an encounter with police, and covers special health risks associated with ID.  It also gives officers an inside view of the DIDD Protection From Harm investigation process that often occurs alongside a criminal investigation.

“When something bad happens to someone we support, whether it’s abuse, negligence, fraud, exploitation, or some other violation, our investigators are on scene gathering details,” said Steven Sutherland.  “When the incident rises to the level of a crime, our Protection From Harm investigators can be a real asset in building a case and taking it to trial.”

DIDD has previously provided this training to TEMA, TBI, Knoxville Airport Public Safety Department, and another TLETOA session.  Future training sessions are planned with the Williamson and White County Sheriff’s Offices.