Friday May 4th: Tonie Sandler “Emergency Response to People with Disabilities”

The Disability Studies Workshop is pleased to present:

“Emergency Response to People with Disabilities”

Tonie Sandler

Ph.D Student, Social Services Administration

Friday May 4th, 12:00-1:30

Rosenwald 329

Emergency first responders and clinicians frequently engage people with disabilities who are experiencing a behavioral crisis. High-profile tragedies underscore that such encounters can end poorly, even fatally, due to a myriad of preventable failures stemming from a general lack of training and understanding, unnecessary tactical force, and miscommunication or ill-advised organizational policies. Although specific successes and failures depend on specific context, police departments and other first responder agencies can prevent many tragedies by valuing de-escalation as a core principle and by imparting basic CIT time and distance principles over tactical intervention in the management of behavioral crisis.

This presentation will evaluate the current crisis intervention team (CIT) approaches widely used in the United States when responding to individuals experiencing a behavioral crisis. Next, I will draw on the case example of Chicago’s CIT to explore organizational, cultural, and policy obstacles to suggest practice implications to prevent adverse outcomes during these encounters.

There is no advanced reading for this presentation. Refreshments will be provided!

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All DSSG events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, events are hosted in Rosewald 329, which is wheelchair accessible. An overall campus map is available here, and one focused on accessible entrances and exits to Rosenwald here. We are committed to making DSSG accessible; if there are accommodations that would make our events more accessible to you, please contact or

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