How to Deal with Police as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person
Interacting with the police can be a strange, stressful, or even scary situation for anybody. However, it can be even more difficult for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are some tips every member of the deaf and hard of hearing community should know about for dealing with police officers.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing should carry a card or small piece of paper with them that explains that they can’t hear and what help they might need in order to communicate with the police. For example, someone might write that they have severe hearing loss and need an ASL interpreter to communicate. If you need one, the police are required to provide you with an interpreter (though make sure to say what kind of sign language you use!).
Also, instead of using an interpreter, you can communicate with the police by using hand gestures or writing things down on a pad of paper.
If you want more information about interacting with police officers, you can check out the National Association of the Deaf’s page about the topic or the “Know Your Deaf Rights” video (which has ASL and captions) made by actress and Deaf rights activist Marlee Matlin.
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