Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, met today with members of the Consortium of Disability Organizations (CODO) to discuss training, advocacy, and awareness, relating to the treatment of members of the 43 disability organizations which fall under the umbrella organization.
The meeting was held at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday 24th November, 2020, and focused on ways that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) can continue and enhance the support for persons living with disabilities in the country due to the ‘New Normal’ brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Present at the meeting were DCP (Ag) Operations, Anthony James, President of CODO, Jacqui Leotaud, President of the Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Teresina Seunarine, and President of the Persons Associated with the Visual Impaired Bhawani Persad.
The discussions opened with congratulatory remarks being bestowed on the TTPS for its general treatment of individuals who are disabled. Of concern though, was the treatment of persons who are in possession of letters to be exempted from wearing the masks, social distancing, and how police officers engage any such persons who maybe in possession of the exemptions due to their disability. Also discussed was the need for vehicle stickers which can assist persons with disabilities in parking.
Commissioner Griffith agreed that he would contact the necessary office to bring some clarity and relief to any situation that may arise in such instances. The consortium was interested in partnering with the TTPS to begin a sensitization program with members of the Police Service. Commissioner Griffith agreed that this is definitely something that could be done and said he would speak with the head of the Police Training Academy to have this started as soon as possible.
He however underscored the need for not only police officers to be sensitized about persons with disabilities, but that this should be extended to the wider society.
DCP James also discussed the importance of such an undertaking, adding that all disabilities are not visually noticed. He said persons need to be made aware of how to treat with the disabled. He added, “Police officers having become aware of such, can now be able to better treat with persons within our society who are so affected.”