The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the Columbia, South Carolina Police Department (CPD), to ensure effective communication to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Under the agreement, CPD will provide auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters to people who are deaf or hard of hearing free of charge, within proscribed time frames; modify handcuffing policies to handcuff deaf individuals in front, safety permitting, to enable the person to communicate using sign language or writing; designate an ADA Coordinator for Law Enforcement; develop and utilize a communication card for use by CPD personnel to communicate with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing during routine interactions in the field; develop a communication assessment form for use in consultation with an arrestee, that will assess what auxiliary aids or services are necessary, and the timing, duration, and frequency with which they will be provided; provide at least one TTY and one videophone at each CPD station and sub-station; adopt and publish grievance procedures for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints against CPD alleging any action that would be prohibited by Title II or the Agreement; and train CPD personnel on the effective communication requirements of the ADA.

For more information or for a copy of the settlement agreement, please visit our ADA website at www.ada.gov. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).