Diabetic Emergency Training for Law Enforcement [2023]

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Course Summary

Recent statistics shows that 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and about one-third (8.1 million) of those with diabetes don’t even know they have it.

In addition, an estimated 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes. For the safety of individuals, diabetes should be an issue of major concern for people working in public safety. It is imperative that officers be trained and prepared to handle a diabetic emergency.

Why is this important?

Your ability as a police officer to clearly discern an imminent medical issue from a possible DUI offense is of the utmost importance to you as the responding officer, the citizen in question, and your agency.

If left unnoticed or misdiagnosed and left untreated, diabetes can lead to severe and permanent complications ― such as damage to the eyes, heart, nervous system, teeth and gums, or kidneys ― which can develop in a matter of hours.

Case Studies

Failure to respond appropriately can also lead to legal liability issues for you and/or your agency.

This course provides three critical case studies for review:

Greene, Henderson, NV (2010).  In Henderson, NV, Mr. Greene was pulled over after he was mistaken for a drunk driver. He was dragged to the ground, handcuffed, and kicked before police realized he was diabetic. Greene was experiencing severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Greene sued, and he and his wife received a large settlement from the city.

Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989). During the stop, Graham got out of the car, ran around it twice, sat down on the curb, and passed out briefly. Responding officers cuffed Graham and ignored his requests to look in his wallet for a diabetic decal that he carried. He sustained a broken foot, cuts on his wrists, a bruised forehead, an injured shoulder, and claimed a loud ringing in his right ear during his encounter with police.

Rosen v. City of Philadelphia Settlement (2003). As a result of this case, the police department established procedures to ensure that people with diabetes have access to medication, food, and medical personnel, and that officers receive diabetes training (created as part of the settlement).

Course Syllabus

  • Diabetic Emergency and Officer Response

    • Introduction
    • Signs and Symptoms
    • Typical Diabetic Indicators
    • Diabetic Warning Signs
    • Providing Emergency Treatment
    • Prepare and Protect
    • Module Assessment