Governor O’Malley Forms Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
September 17, 2013
Governor O’Malley announced that he would name Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman & CEO of Special Olympics, as Chairman of the Commission.
For Immediate Release
Annapolis, MD -- Governor Martin
O'Malley today issued an Executive Order to improve training to
help law enforcement personnel, paramedics, and other first
responders better respond to situations involving individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities ("IDD"). The Executive
Order creates the Maryland Commission for Effective Community
Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental
Disabilities (the "Commission"). Governor O'Malley also announced
that he would name Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman & CEO of
Special Olympics, as Chairman of the Commission.
Governor O'Malley created the Commission in part as a response
to the circumstances surrounding the death of Frederick County
resident Ethan Saylor, who happened to have Down syndrome. Dr.
Shriver, a Maryland resident, has been designated the Chairman of
this commission based on his deep experience in working in communities
to build understanding, acceptance and inclusion of people with
Among other things, the Commission will be tasked with
evaluating the current training received by people that interact
with the IDD community and developing and issuing recommendations
about the types of statewide training standards that Maryland
should adopt to educate individuals in positions of
authority-particularly those in public sector positions such as law
enforcement officials, paramedics and other first responders-about
the best approaches for safely managing situations involving
individuals with IDD. The Commission will be composed of state and
local officials, disability advocates, and other stakeholders.
"Mr. Saylor's death is tragic. I join the multitude of people in
Maryland and across the country who mourn this loss of life and who
seek ways to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again,"
said Governor O'Malley. "As a State, we know
that there is still progress to be made to ensure that the dignity
of every individual is protected."
Both the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and a Frederick
County grand jury have investigated the circumstances surrounding
Mr. Saylor's death. The issue has now grown larger than city,
county, or even state government. The United States Department of
Justice is currently investigating this incident. The state needs
to take steps to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of its
training and then to improve the training for law enforcement and
other first responders -- that is why Governor O'Malley is creating
the Commission now, and that is why he has asked Dr. Shriver to
serve as Chairman.
The Commission is required to submit an initial report,
addressing statewide law enforcement guidelines and statewide
training standards, by January 9, 2014, which would have been Mr.
Saylor's 27th birthday.
"I applaud Governor O'Malley's decision to form this committee,"
said Dr. Shriver. "If there is one lesson that all of us who live
with, work with, and value people with IDD know, is that there
remains a vast gap in understanding -- a gap that all too
frequently results in stigma, exclusion and painful injustice. Our
mission will be to close that gap so that first responders will be
the leaders and models of inclusion, acceptance, and support in
"Our family commends Governor O'Malley and his administration
for listening to our call for action by establishing this important
Commission," said Patti
Saylor, mother of Ethan
Saylor. "The Commission is one piece toward ensuring
what happened to my son, Ethan, never happens to a member of the
disability community again. Ethan deserved to be a welcomed member
of our community, as do all people with IDD. I look forward to
working with Dr. Shriver and the Commission as they move forward in
their vital work. "
"As law enforcement professionals, it is incumbent on us to work
diligently to ensure that we are cognizant of and adequately
responding to the public safety needs of all the citizens we serve,
including our citizens with IDD,"Colonel Marcus Brown,
Superintendent of the Maryland State Police said. "I
believe the work of this Commission will help Maryland citizens and
police officers to better understand the needs of individuals with
IDD, while ensuring we are as prepared as possible to respond to
their needs. For almost 30 years, thousands of Maryland police
officers have supported the efforts of the Law Enforcement Torch
Run and Special Olympics Maryland, helping to provide year-round
sports training and competition free of charge to thousands of
children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The formation
of this Commission will help us continue our support for this
important segment of Maryland citizens."
Other responsibilities of the Commission will include (1)
recommending statewide policies, guidance, or best practices
regarding law enforcement and first responders' responses to
situations involving individuals with IDD; and (2) developing a
coordinated, collaborative, and comprehensive strategy to ensure
enhanced responses to such situations, including consideration of
expanding Crisis Intervention Teams and Mobile Crisis Teams.
Over 90,000 Marylanders have intellectual or developmental
disabilities. In fact people with IDD represent up to three percent
of the world's population, making it the largest disability
population on earth. The O'Malley-Brown Administration recognizes
that many individuals in positions of authority, including law
enforcement officials and first responders, receive limited
training about responding to situations involving individuals with
IDD. The purpose of the Commission is to ensure that these
officials are able to benefit from policies, guidelines, and
training addressing these issues.
A copy of the executive order can be found here.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes
lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering
people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for
all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect
worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special
Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more
than four million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of
the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic
competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now take
place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual
disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and
ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard to World Games.
Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities
continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop
physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and
friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
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