Non-profit offers diversity training to officers

Savannah Copithorne from the Tennessee School for the Blind and Dennis Goins of the Sumner County Sheriff's Department. SUBMITTED

Borderless Arts TN held a Diversity Training program for Sumner County Law Enforcement on Oct. 23. 

The officers learned how to respond to individuals with various disabilities such as Autism, blindness, Down Syndrome and those who are deaf. 

At the end of the training session, the officers made a piece of art with a young adult with a disability. The art was created on hockey sticks that were provided by the Nashville Predators.  The art included words and phrases that were used during the training that the participants felt were significant.

The hockey stick art will be on display at the International Day of People with Disabilities that will be held at the Sumner Tourism on Nov. 29. 

This program was run through the Teapot Diplomat Visual Arts Program. The groups was also joined by students from the Tennessee School for the Blind. The Teapot Diplomats not only learn visual art techniques, but they use the arts for community engagement. 

As the law enforcement officers worked with the young adults, conversations became easier for both groups of participants.  The arts have a power to open conversations.

This program was supported by the Nashville Predators, the Memorial Foundation, an ABC grant from the TN Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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