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DC Developmental Disabilities Council

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Disability Community and Policing Working Group

In July of 2020, the Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) convened the Disability Community and Policing Working Group, which held 12 meetings to discuss issues that the disability community has faced in interactions with police officers in the DMV. We invited speakers to our meetings to learn about existing initiatives and spent a lot of time listening to and discussing personal accounts that people with disabilities and their family members have had interacting with law enforcement. Ultimately, we came up with 11 recommendations that we submitted to the DC Police Reform Commission. Those recommendations, along with a testimony delivered to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, and a formal presentation delivered to the PRC, are included on this webpage.

Our main objectives with our recommendations are to reduce the need for police and ensure that when police officers are interacting with people with disabilities, those interactions remain respectful and safe, to eliminate police brutality, and to encourage better responses to behavioral health and disability-related crises by involving unarmed individuals with specialized expertise and a deep understanding of disability and behavioral health issues. Our recommendations encourage a cross-agency and community collaboration that includes at the very least, the Department on Disability Services (DDS), Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), Office of Unified Communications (OUC), and non-governmental community groups focused on justice and safety.