Missouri Legal Update
2022 Lesson 11: Americans with Disabilities Act
This is an online legal studies course designed to help Missouri police officers gain a working knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Missouri disability law as it relates to law enforcement functions. The lesson provides an overview of the ADA, focusing on the provisions of Title II. The lesson sets out the most salient provisions of Missouri disability law that can impact police work. The lesson examines the most recent United States Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit cases that apply the ADA and the United States Constitution to policing activities involving those with disabilities, including arrests, custodial interrogation, and transportation of those in custody. The lesson describes common developmental and mental disabilities, describes the ways the manifestations of those disabilities may be misinterpreted by law enforcement officers, and describes actions officers can take to accommodate those disabilities. The lesson also discusses federal and state laws regarding service animals, including what qualifies as a service animal, what places must allow service animals, what questions police officers are allowed to ask about service animals, and criminal penalties for harming a service animal or misrepresenting an animal as a service animal.