Alzheimer’s Disease and Law Enforcement: Training is Needed to Maintain Safety and Dignity

With the increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, stories related to people with dementia are gaining notice in the media. Unfortunately, the stories are too often sad and tragic.
Indiana lawmakers recently passed a bill mandating training for law enforcement officers.

While this is a positive step, the bill was the result of a June, 2012 incident where an officer used a Taser 5 times on an elderly gentlemen with advanced dementia who resided in a long-term care facility. The gentleman was combative and uncooperative, refusing to go to the hospital.

Those with memory loss can present unique challenges for those in law enforcement, emergency medical services and other first responders. While training on mental health issues and other diagnosis has improved for those who work in public safety, we must continue to increase awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease to ensure safety, while at the same time maintaining dignity.

Opportunities exist for training on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, or visit for the International Association of Chiefs of Policy for information on their free Alzheimer’s Initiatives Training Center.

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