Aging Americans and a Changing Mind: Alzheimer vs. Law Enforcement
American senior citizens are the fastest-growing population in the United States. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). With the increase of the senior citizen populace, there are challenges not only facing the aging populace but also American law enforcement agencies. The challenges will come from the increase of Alzheimer’s disease and the increase in calls for service to law enforcement to assist the patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The major obstacles in dealing with this disease are twofold. The first obstacle is the increase of new patients with Alzheimer’s, which is estimated to be 500,000 new cases each year (“Sources for Alzheimer’s Disease”, 2017). The second obstacle is the lack of training and experience of law enforcement officers having to understand and deal with Alzheimer’s patients. Law enforcement agencies should be preparing for this disease by providing the proper training. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) and elected officials at the state level should be working together to mandate training regarding Alzheimer’s disease and mental health for law enforcement officers. The local elected official and Alzheimer’s caregivers must coordinate with the local law enforcement agency to help identify the patients and make known the needs of the patient. Without proper training and information, the Alzheimer’s patient and officers are at risk of harm or death.