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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 167317 Find in a Library
Title: Being Considerate of the Disabled Doesn't Mean Being Careless
Journal: Law Enforcement Quarterly  Dated:(February-April 1997)  Pages:26
Editor(s): S J Casey
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 1
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Handling wheelchair-bound subjects is a sensitive and rarely discussed issue in law enforcement, yet incidents involving these and other disabled individuals can be as dangerous and sometimes more dangerous than those involving fully mobile subjects.
Abstract: The first mistake police officers can make in an encounter with a wheelchair-bound individual is to allow natural compassion to cloud their focus on safety and survival. Some people are in wheelchairs because of criminal activity or violent encounters with the police and may not think twice about injuring or killing a police officer. Police officers should realize not all people in wheelchairs are there permanently and should not assume if they turn their back on the subject he or she will be in the same position when they turn back around. Police officers should also remember some criminals use wheelchairs as a deceptive way of eliciting sympathy and donations, wheelchairs can be very effective for hiding weapons, and even wheelchairs themselves can be serious weapons. On crime-in-progress calls, police officers should not overlook seemingly handicapped individuals who may be acting as lookouts and who may even be suspects. Finally, when approaching a wheelchair, police officers should use the same approach they use when making a traffic stop: approach from behind and remain alert to suspicious hand movements or attempts to hide or retrieve something.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Assaults on police; Criminology; Persons with physical disabilities; Police deaths; Police safety
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