Retired Paterson Police Officer Larry Rudesyle recalls when words like ‘crazy’ and ‘retarded’ were used in dispatches to refer to a person behaving erratically.
Recently, television shows like Glee have crusaded to banish stereotypes that surround the developmentally disabled. Similarly, the New Jersey Legislature made a big push to improve first responders’ understanding about developmental disabilities and better handle encounters by passing a law in 2008 mandating training. The result was an online course for the state’s more than 100,000 police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. Read more about Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education web course that promotes understanding of developmental disabilities.