Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans: Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety
Hearing Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights
Date: April 29, 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226 (room location is tentative; check Senate Judiciary Committee website to confirm – http://www.judiciary.senate.gov)
Description: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, will chair a hearing entitled “Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans: Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety.” Because of inadequate social and mental health services, law enforcement officers have increasingly become the first responders for individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities who are in crisis. Recent high-profile tragedies have demonstrated the need for law enforcement officers to receive additional training to safely address these situations. State and local law enforcement agencies have taken the lead in developing innovative solutions, such as Crisis Intervention Teams. Localities that use these approaches have seen fewer injuries and deaths among officers and people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, increased jail diversion rates, fewer lawsuits following crisis incidents, and stronger ties with the mental health and disability communities. This hearing will explore how Congress and the Executive Branch can support and strengthen these efforts.
Hearing Attendance: This hearing is open to the public. Please encourage advocates and interested members of the community to attend. A large audience filling both the hearing room and overflow room is critical to showing interest in this issue. For our planning purposes, please provide an estimate of the number of attendees from your organization by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by filling out this form. If it is not feasible to estimate the number of attendees from your organization, please send the link to the form to members so that they may individually RSVP for the hearing.
Statements for the Record: Chairman Durbin invites advocates and stakeholders to offer their perspectives and experiences on these issues by submitting written testimony to be included in the hearing record. These statements help educate Committee members about this issue and are important to demonstrating community interest. Statements must be submitted as a PDF or Word Document of 10 pages or less, and should be emailed to Durbin_Testimony@Judiciary-dem.Senate.gov as early as possible, but no later than Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Please note that the Subcommittee cannot accept previously published information, such as newspaper articles or reports, as a statement for the record.
Senator Dick Durbin is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all constitutional issues, and all legislation and policy related to civil rights, civil liberties and human rights. The Ranking Member of the Subcommittee is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).