The Arc Central Chesapeake Region (The Arc) is pleased to announce that the Maryland Department of Disabilities has awarded The Arc a $1,515 grant for educating the people we support on how to safely interact with police officers and explore their communities with confidence. The Arc will host two event series, one with officers from the Anne Arundel County Eastern and Western Districts and one with first responders in Easton, where there will be educational training, activities, and question-and-answer sessions.

These educational events will provide opportunities for open conversation and learning for the people we serve and the law enforcement officers involved as they discuss what to do when pulled over and how to be safe in the community.

The funding for the grant comes from the Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators, a group whose mission is to prepare and support people with IDD to become and interact with law enforcement officers and other first responders. The grant is named for Ethan Saylor, a young man with IDD who died while being restrained by police officers at a Maryland movie theatre in 2013.

“It has been 10 years since Ethan Saylor tragically died, and there are still too many stories of harm, misunderstandings, and bad experiences between law enforcement officers and people with IDD,” said Jonathon Rondeau, President & CEO of The Arc. “Our hope is always that educational events like these will create opportunities for open and honest dialogues and promote positive outcomes for the IDD community.”

The event in Anne Arundel County will be held at the Goldfinch and Chickadee Pavilions at Lake Waterford Park from 11:00am – 1:00pm on Friday, May 12, 2023. The question-and-answer sessions will be led by Cathy Maxfield, our Community Activities Coordinator, and will be open to all of the people The Arc supports in Day Services who wish to attend.

On the Eastern Shore, the people we support will take part in a Citizen’s Police Academy hosted by the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office. To kick off the series, there will be a roundtable discussion at The Arc’s Easton Hub on May 2, 2023, followed by additional training days during the month of May. Attendees will learn about calling 911 on May 4, police roles and responsibilities on May 11, specialized units on May 17, and will celebrate their newfound knowledge with a graduation celebration and luncheon on May 25.