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ALEA becomes first state police department in nation to be certified in sensory inclusive practices

On Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) announced that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has become the nation’s first state police department to be certified in practices that are inclusive to those who suffer from sensory processing issues.

All of the ALEA’s officers are now fully trained in the best practices on how to handle situations involving individuals with sensory disabilities.

“Too often we have citizens with sensory issues or folks who have PTSD, autism, dementia and a whole host of special needs that frankly our heroes in blue haven’t been trained to deal with up to this point,” Ivey said.

KultureCity, a Birmingham-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting community inclusivity for individuals who suffer from invisible disabilities, provided the training for free.

Founder and CEO Dr. Julian Maha touted Alabama’s position as being the nation’s leader in sensory inclusivity and diversity.

“All of us here have started a movement and changed culture, something that soon will be in every single first responder department in the rest of our county,” Maha said. “Today Alabama leads first.”

ALEA officers will soon be provided with special sensory aids such as non-verbal communication cards and noise-blocking headphones. Special decals will be placed on ALEA vehicles as a way to show that the officer is certified.

This certification is proof that Alabama law enforcement strives every day to improve its interactions with the public, according to ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor.

“Law enforcement officers in this state and all around the nation wear many hats every day,” said Taylor. “Wearing those different hats, you need to be trained for whatever hat you have on. To me, this is another tool in the toolbox that we have to do our job properly.”

Among the sworn personnel who received the training were state troopers, Alabama Bureau of Investigations special agents, communication officers and all personnel within ALEA’s driver license division.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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