HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — An expert on disability awareness training says Maryland could become the first state to require police and other first responders to get such training.

David Whalen of Niagara University in New York spoke Thursday during an online seminar sponsored by national Down syndrome advocates following the death in police custody of a New Market man with Down syndrome.

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Whalen says no state requires the sort of broad training that Gov. Martin O’Malley has asked a state commission to recommend. Whalen has trained 53 police departments in New York state under a voluntary program.

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The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the January death of 26-year-old Robert Ethan Saylor. He died of asphyxia in the custody of three Frederick County sheriff’s deputies. A local grand jury declined to indict the officers.

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