National Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
Enhancing Law Enforcement Engagement With Individuals With Mental Health Conditions and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
The IACP, in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), promotes law enforcement and mental health collaboration in small, mid-sized, and large police departments across the United States. We provide customized training and technical assistance to law enforcement to enhance the responses to individuals with mental health conditions and intellectual/developmental disabilities. With this project, the IACP will grow and enhance cross-system responses between local law enforcement and mental and behavioral health service delivery partners. By fostering a strong alliance between law enforcement and mental health service partners, the IACP aims to improve the welfare of vulnerable individuals and improve public and officer safety.
Training and Technical Assistance Resources
Library of ResourcesOne Mind Library of Resources
This resource library is a searchable database with materials related to responding to individuals with mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities. The library contains a compilation of webinars, workshops, tools, articles, publications, and other resources sourced from a wide variety of authors, organizations, and programs.
These resources discuss the importance of understanding developmental disabilities and highlight common encounters officers may have with individuals with developmental disabilities in the field.
One Mind Campaign
This One Mind Initiative includes the One Mind Campaign, which seeks to ensure successful interactions between law enforcement and individuals with mental health conditions. The One Mind Campaign focuses on uniting local communities, public safety organizations, and mental health organizations so that the three become "of one mind."
Bureau of Justice Assistance Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit
The Police Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit provides resources for law enforcement agencies to partner with service providers, advocates, and individuals with mental health conditions or developmental disabilities. The goal of these partnerships is to ensure the safety of all, to respond effectively, and to improve access to services and support for people with mental health issues and/or developmental disabilities.
IACP Model Policies
Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites
The IACP and partner agencies strive to increase police-mental health collaboration. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with guidance from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), selected 14 police departments to act as national law enforcement/mental health learning sites. Located across the country, these learning sites represent a diverse cross-section of perspectives and program examples, and are dedicated to helping other jurisdictions improve their responses to people with mental health issues and/or developmental disabilities.
Our featured spotlight is on Disability Response Teams: Building Connections between Disability and Criminal Justice Communities!
The Arc’s National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability® (NCCJD), created in 2013, prioritizes supporting collaboration and training efforts in state and local jurisdictions. To that end, NCCJD developed a comprehensive training program called Pathways to Justice®, piloted in 2015, that guides the creation of Disability Response Teams (DRTs) to build collaborations addressing the intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) community.
The goals of each DRT can vary, but the first step involves organizing a local, multidisciplinary team. This team connects stakeholders from the criminal justice and disability disciplines, including law enforcement, legal professionals, victim service professionals, people with disabilities, and disability professionals. The DRT works to identify barriers to effective interactions, support communication, and promote equal access to justice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or IDD.
The need to bring these professionals together is clear. National studies reveal that people with IDD are overrepresented in the criminal justice system as both victims and inmates. According to one national report, the rate of violent victimization against people with disabilities was almost four times the rate of violence experienced by people without disabilities. A recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report found that one in four prisoners have a cognitive disability. People with IDD can be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted without their disability being identified. In these cases, the lack of appropriate accommodation can lead to long, needless cycling in and out of the criminal justice system.
Fifteen Disability Rights Teams have been created in 12 states to address these inequities, training over 1200 professionals through Pathways to Justice since 2015. The state of Virginia provides an impressive example of the power of collaboration. Following the Pathways to Justice training, they established their first Disability Response Team seven years ago, spearheaded by The Arc of Loudoun County. After training, the DRT continued to meet for monthly meetings and training.
The Disability Response Team was eventually renamed and is now the Loudoun County Disability and Justice Coalition. The coalition comprises approximately 20 members, including prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, officers from the local sheriff’s department, corrections, family members, people with IDD, disability community professionals, and representatives of county agencies. The coalition has increased compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA); connected suspects, victims, and witnesses to needed services; provided ongoing training to law enforcement, attorneys, and the community; and ensured people with IDD are key players in the coalition and involved in training initiatives.
To learn more about Pathways to Justice or how to organize a Disability Response Team, please reach out to Leigh Ann Davis, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives, at email@example.com.
Our past spotlight is on Pathways to Justice an initiative within The Arc of the United States National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability.
Pathways to Justice, an initiative of the Arc's National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD), is a comprehensive, community-based program designed to improve access to justice for people with disabilities, with a focus on intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through a strategic two-step process.
First, NCCJD provides support in creating a local, multi-disciplinary team, called a Disability Response Team (DRT), that brings together key stakeholders from both the disability and criminal justice communities. The team works together to identify barriers to justice and serves as the go-to resource on criminal justice and disability in their community.\
Second, NCCJD experts work closely with the DRT to provide a full-day, in-person training for law enforcement, victim services providers, and legal professionals covering key topics such as how to identify, interact with, and accommodate persons with IDD and other disabilities.
To date, NCCJD has reached over 1,800 stakeholders in more than a dozen states through the Pathways to Justice program. You can learn more about Pathways to Justice here.
Our past spotlight is on the Denver Police Department's Crisis Intervention Response Unit
The Denver Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Response Unit started in 2016. This co-responder model allows officers to work side-by-side with licensed behavioral health clinicians when responding to calls that involve people experiencing known or suspected behavioral health concerns. Operating city-wide, in all six of Denver’s police districts, currently 12 hours a day, seven days a week (expanding to 24/7 coverage in 2021), the department’s goal is to treat people where they are, as they are, in an effort to introduce trauma-informed, harm reduction-based responses, strategies, and support.
Since its inception, the program has been one of the fastest growing in the department. Thanks to grant funding, the program was able to more than double in size in only two years. The program was able to expand its capacity, outreach, and interventions during this time. It was also able to increase its staff from the original four licensed clinical social workers to 32, to also include four clinical case managers.
Originally met with skepticism from officers, the unit has not only grown to be expected from the officers but appreciated. Many officers now hope to be one of the officers selected to pair with a social worker. The impact of the project and the reception from officers has been noticeable.
Co-responders made contact in 2018 with 1,725 individuals. Of those people, only three percent (3%) were arrested and two percent (2%) were issued a ticket. In the majority of instances where arrest or citation resulted, behavioral health issues were a secondary or tertiary part of the call for service. Additionally, about a quarter (25%) of those contacted by clinicians were connected to the Mental Health Center of Denver, where they were given ongoing health support and recovery-based services.
For any questions please reach out to Director Scott Snow at Scott.Snow@denvergov.org.
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2019-NT-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.