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EC Central Police Services to host disability awareness training for 911 operators, dispatchers

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Fri, Mar 31st 2017 05:55 pm

Training assists 911 call takers, Police/Fire dispatchers to better handle emergency calls from the disabled community

The Erie County Department of Central Police Services ("CPS") will host a training program for 911 operators and dispatchers, designed to help these professionals appropriately and effectively respond to emergency calls from individuals with disabilities. Using a curriculum developed with input from the NYS 911 Coordinators Association, and customized specifically for dispatch personnel, the training will highlight speech and cognitive challenges, relay services, Person First language, and disabilities defined specific to 911 calls.

Erie County CPS 911 operators will participate in the one-day training. The department has also invited every police agency in Erie County to send dispatchers to the training at no cost.

"While this training is not mandated by the state, it is incredibly important and will help dispatchers to be better prepared to handle emergency calls from the disabled community," CPS Commissioner James Jancewicz said. "Every second counts in an emergency, and this training can help dispatchers and disabled residents to make critical connections and eliminate stumbling blocks in communication. April is Autism Awareness Month, and we are encouraging increased sensitivity and awareness of all types of disabilities while working to bridge communication gaps."

The six-hour training will be conducted on Tuesday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 5, at the Town of Cheektowaga Police Department. Participants will gain a broader knowledge of disabilities they may encounter, will be better able to understand the challenges faced by disabled individuals and how to address them effectively, and will gain an ability to understand characteristics of individuals across all disability spectrums, especially as they relate to communication.

Video presentations of individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on speech challenges, will assist participants in identifying communication challenges. An extensive amount of materials specific to first responders will be provided.

The facilitator for the training program is David Whelan, who founded the disability awareness training program in 2004 and is a member of the Erie County Disability Advisory Board.

For more information on Erie County Central Police Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/cps/; or on disability awareness training, visit http://frdat.niagara.edu/training.

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