Have you ever been stopped by the police because of tremor or movement issues related to a movement disorder?
Marcia Lee Aulebach-Lagomarsino provides guidance based on her recent experience of getting stopped by police. Marcia raises awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s issues through the MLee Young Onset Parkinson’s Support Group.
5 Tips for Interacting with Police
- Be prepared! Carry documentation of your diagnosis and medications.
- Ask your doctor to provide you with a letter outlining your diagnosis and common symptoms.
- Fill out a medication list that has your doctor’s phone number and is signed by your doctor, and carry it with you at all times.
- Place one copy in your wallet next to your driver’s license or ID. It doesn’t hurt to have a spare copy or two!
- These can be downloaded for free from the National Parkinson’s Foundation, International Essential Tremor Foundation, and Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
- Be polite with the police officer. Give the officer your medication cards, doctor’s note, and identification. Explain to the officer that you have a movement disorder and stressful situations can make your symptoms worse.
- Do not hesitate to ask to speak with a supervisor if you are experiencing problems communicating with the officer.
- Be proactive! Visit your local police and/or fire department. Introduce yourself and make them aware of the handicap person living in their community. This can be helpful if they are called to your home and can help the local volunteers better understand your needs.
- Understand your rights under the American Disability Act.
- The American Disability Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by employers, businesses and state and local governments. Law enforcement agencies, as part of state and local government, must take steps to communicate effectively and make reasonable changes in policies, practices and procedures to provide people with disabilities the same services and protections as provided to other members of the public, within certain limitations.