Disability ID could ease interactions w/police

ILLINOIS -- A new identification card could ease interactions with police. It's called the Person with a Disability Wallet Card.

People who have an intellectual or developmental disability sometimes struggle to communicate with others and might not be comfortable speaking to law enforcement.

"Especially adults with autism, the way they communicate and how they interact in a social setting is not necessarily the same for someone who does not have autism."

It could lead to issues with first responders, but Springfield police say the flash of an ID card could make a big difference.

"Give us the information to maybe step back and de-escalate a situation that has a potential of getting out of hand."

Deputy Police Chief Dennis Arnold says officers are put in difficult situations every day and, having more tools to help are steps in the right direction.

"Obviously these cards will give us a better understanding of who we're dealing with."

They're not mandatory, but are free for people 16 years or older for people who've been diagnosed with an intellectual, developmental or mental disability.

"Trying to ensure the health and safety of us, of a child or sibling, but also to improve upon and reduce the anxiety that so often occurs between anybody being pulled over for a traffic violation."

The cards are now available and can be picked up at local Secretary of State's offices. 100,000 cards were printed, but officials are unclear how many have been distributed since becoming available in January.


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