Building Bridges: People with Disabilities and Law Enforcement

When law enforcement is called out to a crisis involving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the situation is complicated. Communication challenges, a lack of training, and a misunderstanding of someone’s disability, can all lead to unfortunate challenging outcomes.

From THINK+change, Building Bridges: People with Disabilities and Law Enforcement is series of mini-documentaries diving into the IDD community’s experience with police. Each story highlights progress and the continued need for conversation and steps towards solutions. Solutions that prioritize both justice and compassion.

Why you should watch

  • Understand the lived experience of a mother of children with Autism and the desire for change;
  • Join the journey of retired policer officer and her revolutionary collaborative police training changing interactions across Colorado;
  • Learn from a Direct Support Provider’s perspective and success stories; and
  • Sit down with an Aurora Police Officer and self-advocates with disabilities as they learn from one another in inspiring conversation.

Who should watch

  • Families and Caregivers;
  • Disability Professionals;
  • Law Enforcement;
  • Criminal Justice Educators; and
  • Community Members wanting police reform and progress.

Prefer a Podcast? Listen to the full-length episode!

A Parent’s Perspective – Jackie Bess, a mother and advocate for three boys with Autism and serves on the board of The Arc of Aurora. Having learned from her family’s unfortunate interactions with police over the years, Jackie shares helpful precautions and tips, as well as her view on progress in law enforcement.

A Law Enforcement Trainer’s Perspective – Ali Thompson, CEO and Chief Development and Training Officer at Pulse Line Collaborative Training, LLC has over 25 years of experience in law enforcement and is the parent to two children with developmental disabilities. Ali shares her journey in creating her revolutionary police training changing interactions across Colorado.

A Direct Support Provider’s Perspective – Becky Bowar, Owner and Director of Care and Community, LLC, a local day program, is the parent to a person with a disability and has over 20 years of experience serving and supporting people with disabilities. Becky shares her success stories with police response and view on de-escalating crisis situations.

A Conversation between a Police Officer and Self-Advocates – Officer Juan Ramirez, from the Aurora Police Department, and self-advocates; Briana, Keith, and Eddie, join us from Care and Community, a local day program. They sit down to get to know one another and how they can help each other stay safe in the community.

This TALKS series was made possible through support from Autism Society of CO, Colorado District Attorney’s Council, Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council, Developmental Pathways, and The Arc of Aurora