Law Enforcement, First Responders and Corrections

Table of Contents


Assisting Victims and Witnesses with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System: A Curriculum for Law Enforcement Officers (with Trainer’s Guide)

Training module created by Temple University Institute on Disability that provides law enforcement officers with a basic understanding of intellectual/developmental disabilities and the impact it has on an individual’s ability to interact with criminal justice personnel. It is designed to enhance an officer’s ability to respond more effectively to victims of crime, as well as witnesses and suspects, who have mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. It includes both knowledge and skill components (2002).

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Autism and Informed Response (video)

Video created to train first responders (law enforcement, EMS, firefighters, etc.) on responding to people with autism. Training is provided by parent volunteers. Created by Autism Society of South Carolina and funded by state DD council, includes nine minutes roll call video with three different subjects.

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Building Partnerships Initiative (BPI)

BPI in Massachusettes provides training to new recruits in training academies across the state through the Municipal Police Training Committees (MPTC). The objectives include identifying the prevalence and complexities in conducting investigations of crimes committed against persons with disabilities, understanding the multidisciplinary response in reporting and investigating crimes against persons with disabilities as defined in the Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), acquiring a general knowledge of the types of disabilities police are likely to encounter and recognize how to effectively respond to victims or witnesses of a crime, and demonstrating an understanding of the federal and state statutes relevant to adults with physical and/or mental disabilities and how those statutes are to be applied. On-line training is available for veteran offices.

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Child Abuse Victims with Disabilities: A Curriculum for Law Enforcement First Responders and Child Protective Services Frontline Workers

Provided by the Disability and Abuse Project, this training for child abuse first responders addresses the most important aspects of response when the child has a cognitive and communication disability. The curriculum is designed to be taught by a Multi-Disciplinary Team. While written for Californian first responders, the materials can be adapted to any state or territory. Includes instructor manual, participant manual, and PowerPoint presentation.

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Disability Awareness Training Law Enforcement (video)

Disability awareness information and training video for law enforcement professionals, including those working in state, county and local police departments. Police officers, sheriff's deputies, and other law enforcement personnel have always interacted with persons with disabilities and, for many officers and deputies, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may mean few changes in the way they respond to the public. Professionals need to understand how to identify, communicate with and support victims, witnesses and suspects with an intellectual or developmental disability.

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FASD Guidebook for Police Officers (developed in Canada)

This guidebook provides information on FASD, how to recognize the impact of this condition, how to approach investigations involving an individual with FASD, and where to turn for help conducting investigations (2002).

First Response to Victims of Crime (multimedia package)

Educational multimedia package, produced by National Sheriffs’ Association that describes steps law enforcement can take to meet victim’s needs. Types of victimization covered include sexual assault, drunk driving, homicide, human trafficking and mass casualties. The special needs of older victims, child victims, immigrants, and victims with disabilities are addressed as well.

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First Responder Disability Awareness Training (FR-DAT) project

The mission of the First Responder Disability Awareness Training (FR-DAT) project, located in New York, is to develop a training curriculum for law enforcement, fire fighters, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and 911 operators/dispatchers that provides all First Responders with the knowledge necessary to best serve and respond to individuals with disabilities.

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In My Jurisdiction: Responding to Crimes Against People with Disabilities, Deaf Individuals, and Older Adults (Curriculum for Law Enforcement)

Training curriculum from SafePlace Disability Services in Austin, Texas with resources and tools for law enforcement officers to respond to and investigate family violence and sexual assault crimes against these three populations. Curriculum may be submitted for continuing education credits for police officers in Texas.

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L.E.A.N. (Law Enforcement Autism Awareness Network)

The mission of L.E.A.N. is to provide first responders with information, resources and training that will allow them to better service people affected by hidden disabilities, such as autism and other developmental disabilities, and people with mental illness.

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Model Policy for Law Enforcement on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Brochure and model policy from U.S. Department of Justice for law enforcement agencies on effective communication with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Agencies are encouraged to download and adapt the policy to suit their needs. (2006)

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Police Response to People with Disabilities

Video series from U.S. Department of Justice designed for use in roll-call training, addressing law enforcement situations involving people who have mobility disabilities, mental illnesses, intellectual disability, epilepsy or seizure disorders, speech disabilities, deafness or hard of hearing , and blindness or low vision.

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Protocol for Law Enforcement

The purpose of this protocol is to effectively guide law enforcement in responding to domestic violence and sexual assault victims with disabilities through model guidelines, investigative procedures, and legal considerations. Implementation of the protocol will allow for successful partnering with prosecutors, advocates, and others in the criminal justice system in the response to victims with disabilities, and also ensure that the response follows legal mandates as well as current best practices. Law Enforcement response is critical to assuring that victims with disabilities have equal access to the criminal justice system in a compassionate, proactive, individualized manner. Note: This is specific to Illinois, but useful as a model to other states.

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Tools for Success Curriculum: Working with Youth and FASD in the Juvenile Justice System

This training is provided by Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is designed for training juvenile justice professionals in the recognition and treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in juvenile offenders. It includes seven modules with slides, activities, and camera-ready handouts, two facilitator manuals and CD.

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Victims with Disabilities: The Forensic Interview – Techniques for Interviewing Victims with Communication and/or Cognitive Disabilities

Provided by the Disability and Abuse Project, this 57 minute DVD provides a specific set of guidelines for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, forensic interviewers, and others for interviewing adults and children with communication and/or cognitive disabilities. An interactive companion discussion guide including a complete transcript of the DVD and a glossary of terms and concepts used in the film is also available.

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