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Policing and People with Developmental Disabilities: Emerging Issues in the Field

Updated: Jul 13, 2022


In recent years, there has been greater awareness that developmental disabilities may go undetected in individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system. As first responders, law enforcement officers may encounter people with developmental disabilities or co-occurring conditions (mental health conditions and developmental disabilities) and as such have an opportunity to set the stage for effective interactions with the justice system for this population. Understanding how to interact with people with developmental disabilities—including identification, communication, and de-escalation—can enhance the safety and effectiveness of these encounters.

Presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative, this webinar will provide an overview of this topic from the perspectives of law enforcement and a person with a developmental disability, including emerging issues and practical tips officers can use to respond effectively to this population.


  1. Chief William Scott, San Francisco (CA) Police Department

  2. Chief Ronald Sellon, Mansfield (MA) Police Department

  3. Russell Lehmann, Internationally Recognized Motivational Speaker, Author, and Advocate

  4. Leigh Ann Davis, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives, The Arc of the United States and National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability


Webinar Recording


Downloadable Materials

Download PDF • 4.09MB
Download PDF • 322KB


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