Youth with Disabilities Learn About Safe Interactions with Police

Group of young adults listening to a man talk at the front of the room.

A new partnership between DRTC and IDD Safe aims to ensure safe encounters between people with disabilities and law enforcement. Participants of Camp Tumbleweed Academy had the opportunity to learn from retired law enforcement officers during their summer day camp activities. This initiative aims to equip these young individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate encounters with law enforcement in a safe and respectful manner.

During Camp Tumbleweed Academy, participants engaged in various activities focused on fostering safe interactions with the police. Retired law enforcement officers taught essential skills such as understanding body language, effectively communicating a disability, and participating in mock demonstrations within a safe environment. By learning these skills, the campers gained confidence and a better understanding of how to navigate encounters with law enforcement personnel.

In addition to the hands-on training received during the camp, campers and their families were provided with reference cards to carry with them at all times. These cards will serve as a quick reference guide, offering helpful tips and reminders on interacting with law enforcement. Furthermore, the campers were introduced to the De-escalating Officer Patrol Encounters (D.O.P.E.) app, developed by IDD Safe instructor Lt. Stan Campbell (Ret., OKCPD) and actress Tisha Campbell. This app provides de-escalation training for both citizens and officers, fostering better understanding and cooperation between the two parties.

Through the partnership between DRTC and IDD Safe, youth with disabilities that participated in Camp Tumbleweed Academy gained essential knowledge and skills to interact safely with law enforcement. By involving retired law enforcement officers and providing practical training, this program empowers campers to navigate encounters with confidence and respect. The distribution of reference cards and the introduction of the D.O.P.E. app further support the campers and their families in promoting safer interactions. This partnership represents a positive step toward fostering understanding and inclusivity within communities and encourages further efforts to ensure the well-being of all individuals, including those with disabilities.

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