For immediate release:
Jan. 26, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Members of the Indiana House of Representatives today (Mon., Jan. 26) unanimously approved legislation co-authored by State Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis) that requires police reserve officers to complete in-service training in interacting with persons with mental illness, addictive disorders, mental retardation, autism, developmental disabilities, and Alzheimer’s disease under the Board of Family & Social Services.
House Bill 1242 also calls for the training to cover human and sexual trafficking victims, high-risk missing persons, cultural diversity, lawful use of force, and emergency vehicle operation. Additionally, the legislation changes the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability”.
“The courses really train police officers on how to determine if somebody is suffering from mental health issues or a developmental disability,” explained Macer. “Out in the field, we want the officers to use de-escalation techniques to calm the individuals down and keep them safe.
“My work with dementia and mental illness patients in senior living facilities has confirmed that some officers may not be aware of these issues. They need to recognize that certain individuals must be handled differently than the standard protocol calls for,” she added.
Rep. Karlee Macer is joined on the bill by author Rep. Daniel Leonard (R-Huntington) and co-authors Reps. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) and Dennis Zent (R-Angola).
The measure passed 95-0 and will now move to the Indiana Senate for consideration.