YORK COUNTY, Va. – At the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, there is a new initiative to shed light on a debilitating disease—Parkinson’s Disease.
Deputies are getting training on how to better interpret signs and manage situations with those who have the disease.
“It’s changed my life,” said George Bozeman, a York County resident.
Bozeman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. He told News 3 his symptoms of balance issues, shaking, and unexpected movements can often be misconstrued by law enforcement.
“We could easily mistake someone for being under the influence while they’re driving or walking, arrest them inappropriately, and I would hate to think that we would put somebody in jail under those circumstances when it’s an education issue we need to deal with,” said Sheriff Ron Montgomery.
The sheriff – in partnership with Bozeman – began an initiative to bring awareness to the disease by creating car decals and more training for deputies.
“Emotions can affect Parkinson’s it can make you tight more it can make you shake more,” said Bozeman. “The more energy I use it can affect my speech, and then my speech flutters like my hands shaking.”
The sheriff’s office also wants residents to use its “Head’s Up Program”. The can be filled out by community members. It gives first responders notice that someone in the home may have the disease and could react in a way that’s unexpected.