Alabama Governor: Sensory-Inclusive Training

Governor Ivey Announces Sensory-Inclusive Training for State Law Enforcement Officers

Alabama Becomes First in Nation to Certify Sworn State Law Enforcement with KultureCity’s Sensory-Inclusive Training

MONTGOMERYAL (STL.News) Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, a statewide partnership between the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and KultureCity, making ALEA the nation’s first state law enforcement agency to train and become sensory-inclusive.

KultureCity is a non-profit organization recognized throughout the nation for utilizing its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for individuals with sensory needs or those with invisible disabilities.  The program’s training focuses on instilling understanding, acceptance, and empathy in first responders toward those who have sensory needs.  The goal of this training is to enhance future interactions between law enforcement and the community to create the best outcomes.

“Individuals with sensory-issues have often been misdiagnosed or received delayed assistance due to the lack of understanding of their sensory issues,” Governor Ivey said.  “I’m proud ALEA took initiative to train all sworn officers to be aware of and properly identify those with invisible disabilities.  KultureCity training goes hand in hand with my administration’s goal to make mental health a priority and provide critical support to those that need it the most.”

ALEA is devoted to continuously striving to develop new and innovative ways to positively impact the lives of citizens within Alabama, which is why all sworn personnel, comprising Troopers, Special Agents with ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Communication Officers and all personnel within ALEA’s Driver License Division have completed this invaluable training.  Employees completed a training video and an assessment certifying them on sensory inclusive needs.  Upon completion, the agency received bags with sensory aids and window decals for their patrol vehicles.

ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said, “We are committed to continuously developing new ways to improve our overall operations and interactions with all citizens and today’s partnership is a testament to that commitment.  As we move forward, it is my deepest and sincerest hope that ALEA becomes known throughout the nation as an agency that is devoted to training and equipping personnel for responding to situations with empathy, compassion, and the necessary skills to interact with all citizens, but particularly those who are most vulnerable.” Secretary Taylor added, “I want to thank Governor Ivey for her dedication to law enforcement and for supporting this partnership.  We are honored to work with the Governor and KultureCity in a combined effort to deepen and diversify training within our agency.”

KultureCity began its training with a primary focus on entertainment and social venues across the United States.  Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created more than 700 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries with personnel trained on interacting with individuals who have sensory needs or invisible disabilities.

The organization’s founder and CEO Dr. Julian Maha said, he, too, is honored to work with Governor Ivey and the State of Alabama to expand this program to law enforcement officials statewide.

“A trial phase for first-responder training was initiated and completed in Alabama.  Since then, KultureCity has expanded to local law enforcement departments around the nation; however, ALEA is our first state law enforcement agency to become sensory certified,” Dr. Maha said.

KultureCity aligns with the mission of the Alabama Department of Mental Health as crisis services are stood up across the state, ensuring that individuals in crisis will have someone to talk to, someone to respond, and someplace to go.

“I want to thank Governor Ivey and Secretary Taylor for leading the way to better outcomes for Alabamians with an invisible disability or a sensory need.  This training is essential to creating a positive interaction between law enforcement and individuals with disabilities.  I am excited Alabama law enforcement officers will have the tools they need to serve our most vulnerable citizens.”

KultureCity’s training focuses on four factors when interacting with people who have sensory needs or invisible disabilities:

  • The importance of empathy towards someone with an invisible disability or a sensory need and how common these needs are in society today.
  • What to do when engaging with someone who has an invisible disability or a sensory need, and how to recognize that they might have a need.
  • Strategies that can be used to help individuals with sensory needs or invisible disabilities to adapt to a situation that may be overwhelming.
  • How best to close that interaction and help resolve the situation in a positive way.

The Alabama League of Municipalities is also working to encourage all cities and towns to partner with KultureCity for training among police officers.

“We appreciate Governor Ivey and ALEA’s dedication to ensure Alabama’s first responders are equipped with the necessary resources to assist individuals with sensory needs,” Alabama League of Municipalities Executive Director Greg Cochran said.  “The League encourages municipalities to take advantage of proven programs that address specific challenges within their communities.”