The Minnesota Department of Human Services today released a new tool to help improve communications between people who are deaf and law enforcement. The new two-way communication card
provides guidance to officers and can help facilitate the interaction.
“Minnesotans who are deaf and hard of hearing suggested this card, which we are confident can help to reduce significant communications barriers and also increase overall safety for both people with hearing loss and law enforcement,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Claire Wilson.
The laminated document, which can be kept in the vehicle:
- Identifies the person as being deaf or hard of hearing and offers a few key communication tips.
- Indicates the best way an officer can communicate with the person with hearing loss, whether through written communication, lip reading or texting.
- Has graphics the officer can point to indicating what information they need, what violation occurred and what will happen as a next step, such as a warning, ticket or possible arrest.
- Has graphics that drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing can point to identifying issues they need help with, such as a flat tire, being lost, having run out of gas or needing a tow.
“This is a valuable tool for both the deaf and hard of hearing community as well as law enforcement,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Any tool that helps with safety and communications is valuable.”
The card was designed with significant input from Minnesotans who are deaf and hard of hearing, who identified symbols that would be most helpful to them in communicating.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and logos of both organizations are on the card.