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Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Ableism in Law Enforcement

KVCC Police Academy badge and text: Ableism 101 & 102

Disability Network recently presented anti-ableism training at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy as part of their implicit bias training.

When we learned that Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy is the only police academy in the State that includes diversity, race, and implicit bias in their police training, we reached out to Vic Ledbetter, Director of the KVCC Police Academy, to inquire about including ableism in their training. Mr. Ledbetter was very open to the idea and invited us to present Ableism 101 and 102 in two four-hour sessions. The trainings were well-received with positive feedback.

People with disabilities are sometimes unable to communicate with police or unable to comply with instructions being given. This simple fact can lead to misunderstanding and escalate an already tense situation. According to a recent study, one-third to one-half of all people killed by police each year have a disability, including people with mental illness. By providing police with training specific to the needs of people with disabilities, we hope to be part of a solution to this alarming problem.