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Lawsuit And Media Exposure Prompt Police To Allow Constable With Hearing Loss
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 19, 2005

BRANFORD, ENGLAND--Dennis McCoy has put in more than 1,000 hours of voluntary service, made 45 arrests and collected tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid fines as a "special" officer -- even earning a Special Constable of the Year award -- with the West Yorkshire Police department.

But it took a two-and-a-half year long lawsuit and media coverage for him to be officially allowed to apply to become a regular officer.

McCoy was repeatedly denied the an application for a full-time, regular constable position because he has tinnitus -- a continuous ringing or beating sound -- in one ear.

He filed a discrimination suit against the police force claiming it violated his rights under the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. The force continued to challenge his applications until after the Yorkshire Post brought his case to the public's attention in August.

Last month, the department offered McCoy a hearing "field test". He passed it. The department then allowed his application.

On Tuesday, McCoy's attorney told the Post his client was "delighted with the change of heart" but was disappointed that he had to fight so long, considering the force already had him doing virtually every role expected of a regular constable.

"It's a shame it's taken two-and-a-half years for someone to see sense but we are very pleased that reason has now prevailed," said attorney Fraser Sampson.

A Disability Rights Commission spokesperson said: "It's great news that West Yorkshire Police have relented but it really shouldn't have come to this."

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