Source: WIAT 42 News
HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — The man best known for his role in helping pass Carly’s Law, named for his daughter, is taking on a different mission. Former Pelham Police Officer Dustin Chandler is launching a company to train officers how to interact with people with special needs.
Chandler helped persuade state legislators to legalize the controlled medical use of the marijuana derivative CBD oil to help patients like his daughter.
He says he and his business partners with the Kirchner Group launched Interaction Advisory Group on November 18th because understanding how to interact with people with special needs is a safety issue for any first responder. It’s also a safety issue for people who have special needs, according to Chandler.
“Really in the back of my mind is I have a foot in both camps. I was police officer for a long time. I’ve been on several different scary situations with individuals, not just with disabilities or anything, but in general. So I know what the guys on the street and the women on the street in law enforcement are going through. So I give a unique perspective, but always in the back of my mind is obviously people that I know and certain situations that I know could occur with the families that I know and even with the ones that I don’t know,” said Chandler.
According to Chandler, IAG training includes real world scenarios and demonstrations to help first responders prepare for a crisis situation involving a person with special needs.
“Being in the background that I’ve got and being a law enforcement officer there is definitely a need for training on how to understand especially a person with autism. Not every two cases of a person with autism are going to be the same. They’re going to be different and there are certain things that they need to know about a person with autism or what might occur with autism if they come in contact with that and there’s just a gap in training for that. That leads to being unsafe for officers and absolutely unsafe for citizens and we want to keep both of them safe,”said Chandler.
Chandler says he’s always trying to advocate for his daughter and for the special needs community and disability community to try to bridge the gap between the general public and that population. He is also trying to build awareness and respect for the difficulties facing those communities. The former Pelham Police Officer turned advocate says several situations have struck a chord with him, but there’s no single instance prompted him to look towards training officers full time.
“No I think there’s several examples that we see in society that point to the need for this training. There wasn’t really one instance that’s pointed towards the training. I was drawn into this training because of the need that I see of the lack of training when I was a police officer, but there’s several instances across America that we see might’ve been, could’ve been handled differently and here locally there’s been stories put out and we just want to address some of these issue in the training gap,” said Chandler.
Click here for more information about the new company: