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Bill calls for police training on ‘invisible’ disabilities

The Noah Act, which was passed Thursday, is something that has the ability to aid those with neurological disorders and law enforcement officers.

For Rep. Leigh Hulsey, the sponsor of the bill, the legislation hits close to home. Her son Noah, is on the autistic spectrum, and served as a guiding light in working with others to craft the bill

“As the mother of a son on the autism spectrum, I know that an interaction with law enforcement can escalate quickly if the officer isn’t trained to interact with someone with a neurological disorder,” said Hulsey (R-Helena).

“This bill is an important tool to help protect our citizens and law enforcement officers to reach the most positive outcome possible.”

The bill requires law enforcement officers to take one hour of continuing education every other year on how to interact with individuals who have sensory issues or “invisible” disabilities. The so-called “invisible” disabilities include stroke, diabetes, autism spectrum disorder and dementia, and other neurological disorders.

The class would be administered at no cost by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission and provided by a nonprofit that specializes in such training.

Hulsey said she coordinated her legislation with law enforcement officials.

“I have worked closely with law enforcement officers locally and on the state level throughout the process of guiding this legislation through the State House and everyone has been incredibly supportive of passing the Noah Cade Act,” she said.

Hulsey, named the bill after her son, Cade, and Noah Terry.

“This legislation was drafted with consideration for the 70,000 Alabama families that have a loved one with an invisible disability while understanding the needs of law enforcement officers. That is so incredibly powerful.”

The legislation goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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