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Starting July 1, every law enforcement officer in Indiana will have to undergo training on how to interact with people who have Alzheimer's disease.
Governor Pence signed the new law this past Thursday, and although it won't kick in for nearly two months, Southern Indiana law enforcement say they support the idea.
"Any knowledge is good for us. The more knowledge you have, the more education you have, the better your situation gets," said Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden.
"The training will help because the training will tell us-- hey maybe you can do this to settle them down, or maybe you can do this to get their mind in a different place."
The Sheriff's office, along with law enforcement across Indiana, is preparing for a new law that requires them to undergo training on how to deal with people with Alzheimer or age-related dementia.
The new law came about after a Peru, Indiana police officer used a stun gun on a 64-year-old nursing home resident with advanced Alzheimer's disease last June. The bill aims to educate about the disease, and prevent incidents like these. By learning about symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease, the officers can hopefully react appropriately.
"The individual might suffer with confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and then as the disease progresses they could have some behavior and mood changes," said Lisa Tetrack of Hillcrest Village senior care facility in Jeffersonville. She says Alzheimer's affects every individual differently, but there are some simple steps officers can take to calm the situation.
"If there is just a familiar face around that will help the individual with coping with what's going on."
She also said officers might be tempted to bring the individual into reality, but instead they should validate their feelings.
"If they think it is 1965 and you say no, it is 2013, that is going to make them more fearful about their situation," said Tetrack.
Sheriff Rodden says he hasn't seen the new guidelines for training, but hopes the added knowledge will help his officers get Alzheimer's patients the help they need.
"They are not actually committing crimes but they are a danger to themselves or others so we have to try and diffuse it and keep the peace and hopefully get them to a place where they can get taken care of," said Rodden.
The training will add to yearly, mandatory meetings that also educate about mental health, autism, and domestic violence.