New Communication Cards Help Deaf Community and Law Enforcement
If you see police lights come up behind you, most people tend to get anxious. But for those in the deaf or hard of hearing community, it can be extremely stressful.
“If you have this particular disability and you are pulled over, just imagine it is night time and the officer shines a flashlight in the window, it’s hard to read lips and understand what the law enforcement officer is saying to them,” said Claire Wilson, MN Department of Human Services Assistant Commissioner.
But with the new cards, it’s a much easier path down the two-way street of communication.
“It is also going to reduce the tensions of not only the individual but also law enforcement, because we will know exactly how we need to communicate to get the information that we need, “said Chad Paulson, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sergeant.
Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can keep the card in their car with them at all times, and when the officer approaches, they will go through it step-by-step. The communication cards also address what type of help is needed, what information is needed and how to best communicate with the individual.
“This came from the community,” said Wilson. “We have been working with the deaf and hard of hearing community for over a year to address the need for this type of tool and also to develop it.”
Put into action earlier this month, the communication cards will soon start to be more prevalent in the community.
“I’m looking forward to it, and I think actually from a first responder perspective, it’s also beneficial for Fire and EMS because if they arrive on the crash scene before law enforcement gets there, they will have the same benefit of knowing there is a communication barrier and how to go about getting past that,” Paulson said.
To get a card for your or a loved one, contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services by sending an email to email@example.com or call 651-431-5940 voice or 651-964-1514 video phone. An online version can found at https://edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Public/DHS-7438-ENG.