In February 2020, Independent Futures hosted a workshop on community safety tips for people with disabilities. For this workshop, Independent Futures collaborated with local Crisis Intervention Trainers Nora & Bruce Handler, the Evanston Police Department, and Chicago’s Improv Therapy Group.
Nora & Bruce Handler work with local police departments, helping them facilitate positive community interactions. Officer Tanya Jenkins from the Evanston Police Department joined us and shared her thoughts on the best ways to stay safe during interactions with authority figures like police officers. Finally, Improv Therapy Group led students through role play and improv activities, helping us understand how to communicate better.
This workshop is now available online in its entirety, featured in the videos below. Our workshop was generously funded by Evanston Community Foundation.
Watch The Community Safety Workshop
Important Reminders for Your Safety
- If you’re stopped by the police they will always ask you for your name and birth date. Answer slowly, stand still and keep your hands in front of your body. Ask the officer before reaching into your pocket to get your ID or wallet card.
- Follow police instructions. Do not touch a police officer. Do not run away.
- Always have an ID with you. If you have a wallet card or ID bracelet tell the officer. You could say, “Officer, I have a card or bracelet that explains my needs.”
- If you are non-verbal look the officer in the eye and point to the location of your ID, bracelet or wallet card.
- A Road ID bracelet is worn on the wrist and holds the important information an officer would need from you. A wallet card also has your important information on it. The police know that some people carry a wallet card which explains any special needs.
- Meet police officers in your community. Go to the police station, introduce yourself and ask for an officer’s business card to keep in your wallet. If you’re stopped by police, show him/her the officer’s business card.
- Move away from people who offer you a chance to make money by playing a game. It’s called the Shell Game and it’s a trick sometimes played on the train.
- When bullied or threatened, ask someone you know for help.
- Do not give money to people you don’t know in the community. There are lots of places people can go for food if they are hungry.
- Call 911 if you need emergency help. An emergency is fire, an accident or a serious injury.
Resources To Learn More About Community Safety
- When the Police Stop a Teenager With Special Needs
- Premise Alert Program Notification Form – Evanston Police, Fire, and Life Safety
- Meet The Police: A Guide to Introducing Children and Adults with ASD to Local Law Enforcement | National Autism Association
- Teaching People with Disabilities How to Interact with Law Enforcement – Talking Points for conversations with young adults about community safety.
- 10 Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police | Talk Back
- Wallet Safety Card
- ROAD iD – World Leaders in Runner ID, Cycling ID & Medical ID