For the first time, police officers across Massachusetts are undergoing training in how to approach and talk to people with dementia.
The coursework is included as part of the mandatory 40-hour training that the state’s municipal, environmental and UMass police have to complete every year.
Dan Zivcovich, executive director of the Municipal Police Training Committee, said the specialized classes were prompted by an increasing number of calls officers were responding to involving people with dementia, particularly the elderly.
“That group is growing and we want to make sure that officers are able to understand the issues that are related, and then deal with not only the persons who suffer from age-related issues, but their families. Because how you engage the family can also affect the outcome,” Zivcovich said.
To date, about 2,000 of the 17,000 officers have been through the training, which must be completed by the end of June.