ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The ARC of Monroe held a "Better Together" virtual event on Wednesday to address how members of law enforcement serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Rochester police, state police and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office participated in the discussion. They listened to the comments and concerns from people with disabilities and those who work with them.
"People that I know are mute, they can't talk. They're autistic," said Reenie Levy, an organizer of the event. "There is a lot of things that this has to be brought to our attention. For police to understand that we have a disability and we can't help it."
Levy is also an advocate for the deaf community. As someone who is deaf herself, she says she knows how scary it can be when a police officer approaches and doesn't understand that a person isn't listening to commands because they cannot hear. Levy suggests police departments have officers who know sign language.
Brian Potvin with the ARC says Wednesday's talk will be an opportunity to make similar suggestions.
"We still have so much work to do with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities having a role in society where they're heard, where they're talking to police, law enforcement, legislators," said Potvin. 'So this is a chance for them to be heard, listened to."
More information about the event can be found here.