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Casey Introduces Bill to Strengthen Data Collection and Transparency in Police Interactions with People with Disabilities

Report: 33 to 50 percent of all use-of-force instances involve people with mental health disabilities

Bill is third in suite of legislation aimed at improving interactions between law enforcement and people with disabilities

Washington, D.C. – In order to address the high incidence rate of violence involving law enforcement and people with disabilities, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is introducing the Data on Interactions and Accountability for Law Enforcement with Individuals with Disabilities (DIALED) Act. This legislation would improve transparency by developing data collection to get an accurate representation of how people with disabilities are affected by interactions with law enforcement, including use-of-force and fatal interactions. A report from the Ruderman Family Foundation found that 33 to 50 percent of all use-of-force instances involve people with mental health disabilities, despite statistics showing that only 19 percent of the population has a mental health disability.

“The Pennsylvania families of Walter Wallace, Jr., Ricardo Muñoz, and Osaze Osagie experienced heartbreaking loss—we must do everything in our power to prevent future tragedies from taking place,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation takes active steps to ensure we have up-to-date, accurate information on police interactions with people with disabilities so that we can find solutions and prevent unnecessary violence.”

Current data collection methods fail to collect information on disability status, despite evidence people with disabilities are more likely to be victims of crime, leading to increased interactions with law enforcement. The DIALED Act would amend the Death in Custody Reporting Act and the FBI Use of Force Data Collection Program to ensure that disability status is collected and reported publicly. The legislation would also create a national advisory council on disability status and law enforcement interaction data collection, tasked with developing collection and reporting methodologies and providing recommendations to the Attorney General on best practices.

The DIALED Act is the third bill in Senator Casey’s Law Enforcement Education and Accountability for People with Disabilities (LEAD) Initiative, which also includes the Safe Interactions Act and the Human-services Emergency and Logistic Program (HELP) Act. 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 HELP Act would enhance state and regional 2-1-1 and 9-8-8 call systems, diverting some non-criminal emergency calls away from 9-1-1 and toward human services and mental health support agencies.

The DIALED Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Read more about the DIALED Act here.