Stun gun incident prompts legislation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After an outcry over the treatment of a man with Alzheimer’s at the hands of a police officer in Peru last summer, an Indiana lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require law enforcement officers to be trained on how to interact with people with those suffering from the disease.

24-Hour News 8 news partner the Kokomo Tribune reports that officers currently undergo training on autism, mental illness, addictive disorders, mental retardation and developmental disabilities. State Rep. Bill Friend’s proposal would add Alzheimer’s disease and related senile dementia to that list and would require six hours of training, which would inform officers how to take appropriate action when interacting with people who have Alzheimer's, a disease that is becoming more common in Indiana, Friend said.


"As it becomes more prevalent, instances of officers encountering people with Alzheimer's will likely go up," he said. "With more training, hopefully we'll avoid a situation like this from ever happening again."

Friend told the newspaper that appeals from the family involved prompted him to propose the legislation.

Virginia Howard, whose husband, James, was subjected to a stun gun multiple times at Miller’s Merry Manor Nursing Home in June, said Friend’s action was exactly what she wanted.

"I think it's fantastic," she told the newspaper. "If they can get that passed, it'd be wonderful ... This is what I wanted done. I want the law changed."

The bill had its first reading Tuesday in the House, and was referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety.

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