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Capitol Correspondence - 09.29.20

ANCOR Joins Coalition Statement on Role of Police in Responses to People with Disabilities

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As part of its work with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), ANCOR signed onto principles “calling for policing reforms, including eliminating the role of police in responding to situations that are better addressed by disability service systems or other social or human services staff.” CCD issued the statement in recognition that “police responses in those situations have too often resulted in people with disabilities being needlessly incarcerated or even killed. For disabled people of color, and particularly Black disabled people, these outcomes are even more likely.”

The statement further specifies that: “Police training is not the primary answer. For many years, people with disabilities have called for police to be trained to recognize when individuals have disabilities and to improve their interactions with those individuals. Trainings have been developed, for example, to help police recognize when individuals have psychiatric disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities, diabetes, or epilepsy, or are deaf or hard of hearing, and avoid bad outcomes based on a lack of understanding of these disabilities. But even widely used trainings such as Crisis Intervention Training have shown mixed results, with some studies finding no impact from these trainings. Police must understand how to interact with people with disabilities and must be accountable for their needless incarceration and avoidable deaths. But training police is not sufficient. Police are not equipped to safely and effectively respond to the service needs of disabled people. They are not trained as social workers or disability service professionals.”

The statement elaborates on this point by explaining the importance of community-based supports and of having people with disabilities (especially people of color with disabilities) lead disability-related reforms. It concludes with a list of additional needed police reforms.