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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

December 2021 | Volume 14 | Issue 12

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has successfully convened the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Working Group for the 2021 calendar year. Gathering monthly, the IDD Working Group comprises nine DOJ components:

  1. Civil Rights Division
  2. Disability Rights Section
  3. Community Relations Service
  4. Office of Justice Programs
  5. Office for Victims of Crime
  6. Office for Violence Against Women
  7. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska
  8. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
  9. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia

In addition, the Working Group has established partnerships with outside governmental agencies and public and private institutions such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Arc, the Advocacy Partners, and the Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department. Thus, DOJ, other governmental, and private organizations have gathered to garner support for the resources, policies, and legislation needed to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the IDD community.

Throughout the year, several organizations and outreach partners have provided presentations to assist the IDD Working Group with expanding its knowledge of IDD and how this knowledge (or lack thereof) impacts law enforcement, justice-involved suspects and victims, and the greater community.

For example, Leigh Ann Davis, Director of the Criminal Justice Initiatives at The Arc presented at the February 2021 meeting on The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability and the recent statistics that note the increased likelihood of someone with IDD becoming a victim of violent crime and involved in the criminal justice overall. Following this, presentations from the Vera Institute Center on Victimization and Safety, the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, and the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Police Specialized Unit for Autism/IDD and Alzheimer’s all presented to provide their organizations expertise and support for the development of policies and procedures that support IDD community members’ rights.

One of the most impactful meetings came from self-advocates of the IDD community who spoke forum-style at the June meeting. At this meeting, the Working Group was able to hear first-hand the experiences of those negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. This sparked the idea of the importance of connecting the audience to all the combined resources available to further assist officers and community members with IDD on understanding how to better navigate the criminal justice system and produce more positive shared experiences. Thus, the idea of the IDD Working Group Bulletin was developed.

The IDD Working Group Bulletin is a semiannual announcement acknowledging the resources produced and gathered by the Working Group every six months of the year. This first Bulletin features a list of presentations and presenters from the 2021 calendar year, additional resources for the law enforcement and the IDD community, and a letter from Leigh Ann Davis (Director, Criminal Justice Initiatives at The Arc) and Robert Chapman (Acting Director, COPS Office). This resource list is reproduced here.

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