What Law Enforcement Need to Know About Developmental Disabilities: Tips from an Officer and His Son

As first responders, police officers encounter individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) regularly. Promising practices on interacting with individuals with DD can enhance the safety and effectiveness of these encounters.

During this webinar hosted by IACP’s Home Safe Project, participants hear from Officer Scott Bailey from Aspinwall (PA) Police Department and his son, Trevor. Speaking from his experience as a law enforcement officer and a parent of two boys with autism, Officer Bailey presents on what officers in the field need to know about interacting with individuals with developmental disabilities. He is joined by his son, Trevor, who answers questions about his experiences interacting with officers and what communication is effective for him.

After this webinar, participants will better be able to:

  • Recognize the general signs of DD;
  • Explain tips and strategies for successful interactions with individuals with DD; and
  • Describe wandering and its impact on families, law enforcement, and the community.


  • Officer Scott Bailey: School Resource Officer at Kerr Elementary School, Aspinwall Police Department, Parent of Two Sons with Autism
  • Trevor Bailey: Lived Experience Expert, son of Scott Bailey, an Individual with Autism
  • Dana Bonnell: Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police (Moderator)

For more information, please see the Home Safe project webpage.

This webinar is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2019-NT-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

Scott Bailey

School Resource Officer

Aspinwall Police Department

Officer Scott Bailey has been involved in public safety for more than 35 years. He is currently a law enforcement officer with the Aspinall Police Department and a school resource officer at Kerr Elementary School. He also serves on the District Attorney’s task force for the Allegheny County’s Special Response Team (SRT) for Project Lifesaver; for which he is also an instructor. Officer Bailey has instructed classes at the Allegheny County Police Academy, the Pittsburgh Police Academy, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Police Academy. Additionally, he was a lead speaker for Montgomery County’s continuing legal education (CLE) seminar for district attorneys, public defenders, parole officers, and public first responders. He has been invited to speak to several institutes of higher education and the Allegheny County League of Municipalities at the Seven Spring Convention.

In November 2012, he spearheaded Allegheny County’s first Autism Symposium for first responders. He has partnered with Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen A. Zappala, to produce a roll call video on autism awareness for law enforcement. Officer Bailey has collaborated with several Pennsylvania State Representatives to develop laws that help those with autism spectrum disorder. He, along with his oldest son, Trevor, who is autistic, have educated several police agencies and school districts on the importance of autism education.

Trevor Bailey

Lived Experience Expert

Son of Scott Bailey

Hello, my name is Trevor Bailey. I am 25 years old, and I have Autism. I currently work at Chick-fil-A doing various jobs. I love NASCAR, hockey and being with my family. I also enjoy helping my dad educate others on Autism.

Dana Bonnell

Project Manager


Dana Bonnell is a Project Manager for the Programs Division of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). At the IACP she has worked on projects related to enhancing police response to mental health and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities and gender-based voice and.

Prior to joining the IACP, Dana served as an Investigative and Social Work Intern for the Washington DC Public Defender Service Mental Health Division. Prior to that, Dana worked as an Assertive Community Treatment team manager for Pathways to Housing DC. There Dana coordinated a clinical team providing intensive and holistic community care for individuals with severe mental illness and a history of chronic homelessness.

Dana has completed her Master’s Degree in Justice and Public Policy from American University and previously earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT.


What Law Enforcement Need to Know About Developmental Disabilities Webinar
Recorded 05/31/2023  |  80 minutes  |   Closed captions available
Recorded 05/31/2023  |  80 minutes  |   Closed captions available