Bill to provide police with more training on Alzheimer’s now law

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The wife of an Alzheimer’s patient who was stunned with a taser was on hand as Governor Mike Pence signed House Bill 1044 into law.

The law requires officers to undergo training on how to handle incidents involving persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It also creates a yearly, mandatory in-service training for all law enforcement.

It was created with James Howard in mind. Last June, the 64-year-old was injured after police were called to Miller’s Merry Manor nursing home.

An officer shocked him with a stun gun five times, despite being told that Howard has Alzheimer’s and can’t follow orders.

The police officer was later fired but is appealing that decision.

Howard’s wife has filed suit against the city and the Peru Police Department.

The story inspired Representative Bill Friend, R-Macy, to author the bill.

“It’s really a matter of public safety,” said Friend. “There is a growing population of people affected by this disease, and it’s important to treat them with respect and care.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia with more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. In 2010, more than 120,000 Hoosiers 65 and older were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to reach 130,000 by 2025.