Did you know that practically every police cruiser in this country is equipped with an on-board computer with a webcam and wireless Internet capability? Did you further know that Video Relay Services exist, virtually all across the Internet?
Imagine this scenario.
A young Deaf woman is a victim of domestic abuse. Her husband storms out of the house in a rage, giving her a few precious moments to call for aid. She uses the Relay service and calls 911. The Relay operator informs the 911 operator that the caller is Deaf, and the 911 operator passes that information onto the police dispatcher. The dispatcher puts out the 273-D call, and a cruiser is dispatched to the victim’s home.
The police dispatcher is allowed to assign the car, and give the code – a brevity that goes back to the ancient paradigm of 2-way communications. The codes were created to give the officers all the information they would need as they approached a given situation. The only thing it doesn’t tell them is that the victim is Deaf.
Upon their arrival, the victim – seeing the familiar 2 tone car as her salvation – bolts out her front door, waving her arms and screaming.
“Stop!” The police officers shout at her. She doesn’t stop, because she can’t hear them. Out come the tasers and down goes this poor woman. After they secure the scene, they have her cuffed up and sitting in the back of their cruiser – none the better for wear.
“I think she’s either stoned or retarded,” one of the officers says, trying to make some sense of her Deaf-speak. Finally, they determine that she’s deaf. Now’s where they hand her the torn cover of a match book and a broken pen. “Here. Write what you need to say.”
A young Deaf woman is a victim of domestic abuse. Her husband storms out of the house in a rage, giving her a few precious moments to call for aid. She uses the Relay service and calls 911. The Relay operator informs the 911 operator that the caller is Deaf, and the 911 operator passes that information onto the police dispatcher. The dispatcher clicks a mouse which opens a window on her computer. She quickly punches in a few radio buttons, one of which tells the officers that the victim’s Deaf, and that the call came in via a particular Relay service.
The service in question has been automatically alerted – by the dispatch computer – to await a police call. The officers have been trained in the handful of necessary ASL signs – Stop; What’s your name; Do you live here; Do you have any weapons, etc., and since they go in, knowing she’s Deaf, they know they will need at least these few basic signs. They also know that they need to approach the house in a way that will not limit her ability to see them. No bright lights in her eyes, etc.
Sans Taser, they take her calmly to the cruiser where the terp is patiently waiting – online – to straighten the whole thing out.
How’d that be?
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
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- When One Hand Refuses to Wash the Other (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Communicating with a D/deaf Child (earlylearninghq.org.uk)
- Online Communities Offer Comfort for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Individuals (healthyhearing.com)
- Deaf Man Stabbed After Sign Language Mistaken for Gang Signs (newsfeed.time.com)
- Police Admit Tasers Used to Compel Obedience (dprogram.net)
- Deaf puppy left on side of road in box (newsnet5.com)
- Local Police Taser Policies Differ (milledgeville.13wmaz.com)
- Taser use on mentally ill slammed (standard.co.uk)