Patti Saylor to Testify Before Senate Subcommittee

**A message from the NDSC.

Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans:  Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety

Hearing Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights

NDSC and NDSS are honored to announce that Patti Saylor, mother of Ethan Saylor, has been invited to testify and share her story at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), entitled “Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans:  Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety” on Tuesday, April 29th at 10:00 AM.

Because of inadequate social and mental health services, law enforcement officers have increasingly become the first responders for individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities who are in crisis. Recent high-profile tragedies, such as the senseless death of Patti Saylor’s son, Ethan, on January 12, 2013 during an incident with three off-duty sheriff’s deputies at his local movie theater in Frederick, Maryland, have demonstrated the need for law enforcement officers to receive additional training to safely address these situations. State and local law enforcement agencies have taken the lead in developing innovative solutions, such as Crisis Intervention Teams. Localities that use these approaches have seen fewer injuries and deaths among officers and people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, increased jail diversion rates, fewer lawsuits following crisis incidents, and stronger ties with the mental health and disability communities. This hearing will explore how Congress and the Executive Branch can support and strengthen these efforts.

Chairman Durbin invites advocates and stakeholders to offer their perspectives and experiences on these issues by submitting written testimony to be included in the hearing record. We encourage advocates who are unable to attend to submit a statement. These statements help educate Committee members about this issue and are important to demonstrating community interest.  Statements must be submitted as a PDF or Word Document of 10 pages or less, and should be emailed to Durbin_Testimony@Judiciary-dem.Senate.gov as early as possible, but no later than Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Please note that the Subcommittee cannot accept previously published information, such as newspaper articles or reports, as a statement for the record.

Susan Goodman                                            Sara Weir
National Down Syndrome Congress             National Down Syndrome Society
susan@ndsccenter.org
                                  sweir@ndss.org