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Canton Legislator Proposes Bill to Mandate Dementia Training for Ohio First Responders

photo of an ambulance
First Responders are concerned with rising dementia rates in Ohio.

In the next five years, more than a quarter of Ohioans will be over 60. And that’s a concern for first responders who are more likely than ever to encounter a person with dementia. The symptoms of that condition can be misunderstood.

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) said the bill would mandate police officers and other first responders be given two hours of training on dementia.

"The main thing we want our police officers to be able to do is guide that person through the maze of services and get that person the care that they need."

The training would be developed by the Ohio Attorney General's office. It would focus on effective communication, ways to identify the disease and the local resources available for individuals who have dementia. It would also help first responders identify signs of abuse and neglect.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.