On May 18, 2023, Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Sean Casten (D-IL) teamed up to introduce the Safe Interactions Act – a bipartisan bill to improve interactions between law enforcement officers and people with disabilities and mental health needs. This legislation will provide enhanced trainings to our police officers on working with and communicating with those in crisis, to help make our communities safer.
The Safe Interactions Act would provide grants to enable non-profit disability organizations to develop training programs that support safe interactions between law enforcement officers and people with disabilities. The training would be directed to both new and veteran officers and would include people with disabilities in the training as instructors. It would also establish an advisory council, chaired by a person with a disability, to oversee the training program development and implementation.
The Washington Post database of police shootings estimates that at least 25 percent of shootings involve a person with a mental health disability, and a Ruderman Family Foundation report found that 33 to 50 percent of all use-of-force police incidents involve people with mental health disabilities – making the Safe Interactions Act a key step in addressing the disproportionate incidences of violence involving law enforcement and people with disabilities.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the bill in the Senate.
Click here to read more about this bill.