CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon's hearing-impaired community has a new way to streamline interactions with police officers throughout the state, according to a news release from the Department of Public Safety Standards & Training (DPSST).
The initiative features cards made to fit in the wallets or tucked into the car visors of hearing-impaired drivers. By displaying them to an officer during a traffic stop, officials hope that the cards will help to establish better understanding and dialogue between the hearing-impaired and police.
"Sadly, we know there have been some tragic interactions around the nation involving law enforcement officers and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The visor and wallet cards were designed to serve as a tool to assist with communications between individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and city, county, state, tribal and university law enforcement officers around Oregon,” said DPSST Director Eriks Gabliks.
The cards were first released two months ago, and are being distributed by the Oregon Association for the Deaf and their local or regional partners. Law enforcement agencies, the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS), and other organizations are also helping to distribute those cards.
Cooperation between the City of Corvallis Police Department, ODHHS and the Orange Media team at Oregon State University created a short video [viewable above] made to illustrate the cards and their utility for both police and the hearing-impaired.
According to DPSST, there have also been recent changes to law enforcement curriculum in order to train new officers in interactions with the hearing-impaired.
The communication cards can be viewed, downloaded and printed below.