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  1. #1
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Communication challenge -- deaf & blind subject

    On another forum, someone brought up a really good question.

    My father is deaf and blind. He and I sometimes travel together for long distances (3X from TN to (east and northern) VA and back). Often I wondered if I were to get pulled over (for WHATEVER reason) and the officer wanted both of us out of the vehicle (for a search) then how to deal with a person who is deaf and blind and may be separated from their interpreter/SSP (Sighted Support Person)?
    Or another scenario, we've sometimes stop to get cold drinks or coffee and I go in while he waits in the car (his choice sometimes) and I walk into a robbery and was shot. He's sitting in the car and honestly speaking the first person to open his door (presumably after knocking and yelling through the window) had better know sign-language and know to (gently) sign into his hands. Because he's not going to know WHO/WHAT you are and will only assume that he's being attacked. Lemme toss a couple drops of gas on to the fire, he's 85 years old (looks sixty), and still strong as he was when he was 50 (which, was pretty dang strong). I know officers do NOT like being wrassled with... well neither does my dad, unless he knows it's playing around.
    Oh and just one more... he wears a defibrillator under his skin above his heart so Tasing him would NOT be a great idea.
    So how would you deal with that? Another question is... what can I do if I'm not able to communicate his disability to the officer(s), i.e. lying in the store (dead or dying) or back of an ambulance unconscious.

    I've thought of having some kind of sign by his (passenger) window that calls attention to the fact... but realize that criminals can read as well and some are opportunists, or they perceive something as an easy mark, (woe to the idiot that tries THAT!). So don't want to call attention to THEM.

    Having HIM carry a card and all that is fine... he knows enough to present it to a (verified) officer... once the officer has been *ahem* verified.

    I realize that many officers would know to bring an sign-language interpreter asap and writing back and forth with a deaf person is an acceptable communication until that happens. Whaddya do when the person can't SEE to read and can't HEAR to acknowledge your understanding?

    These are some of the things I've thought about while on those long drives. Even in town driving to the store or doctor. No, I don't anticipate getting pulled over but it does happen from time to time to nearly everyone.
    So, I have concerns and questions about it.

    Feedback is appreciated.
    It's a real challenge -- and I honestly am appreciative that he brought it up NOW. Why? So that I can give it some thought BEFORE I have to deal with it for real sometime.

    Deaf alone, I've done. Blind alone, I've done. Even dealt with plenty of foreign languages without translators. But deaf and blind... That's a real challenge.

    There are some ideas over on the original thread on that other forum. I'm kind of curious what we see come up here.
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  2. #2
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Wow, that would be difficult. Putting that person's hand on your badge to identify yourself as a police officer and trying to "write" with your finger on that person's hand sound like good ideas. Or maybe try tapping Morse code? Actually, wouldn't the same problems arise if you encountered someone who can't understand you because of mental disabilities? What would you do in that situation?

  3. #3
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    The coolest thing I've ever seen in this area was at my first agency. The back of our badges had braille on them that identified us as cops. I encountered a blind couple and they verified it, feeling my badge. I've never seen that anywhere else, including my current agency.

    I think I could figure out rather quickly that the author's father had special circumstances and then try and figure out what to do. I would make an effort to let them touch my badge, sans braille even, to help them understand who I was.

    That all goes out the door though when someone is armed and not obeying commands to drop a weapon. But in the circumstances given above, I think it could be fairly easy to work out.
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  4. #4
    luckyme's Avatar
    luckyme is offline The bastard you love, the hero you hate
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    In Alabama (not sure about other states) there is a "yellow dot" program. The person puts a yellow sticker on the back of the car and it tells the first responders that there is medical info about the subject in the glove box. I would recommend the poster contact the local "council on aging" or whatever they're called where he's from.

    Yellow Dot Progam:
    ADECA - Yellow Dot Program

  5. #5
    Radar's Avatar
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    I had an encounter like this once. The individual was in his fifties and had been separated from his party at a large event venue. We had been looking for him based on descriptions while his party stayed at the command post. Myself and another officer found him, the other officer just grabbed his hand and tried to lead him, but that didn't work well as he didn't know why and started to turn hostile. I put my hand on both of their hands so he could tell there was another person there and I broke the connection between the other officer and the subject's hand. I then took the subjects hand and placed it on my badge and let him feel it. He then wanted to feel my face - which I was uneasy about but I closed my mouth and eyes and let him. I then took his hand over to the other officer and let him feel his badge, and then his face. I then gently pulled him toward the golf cart we were driving at the event and I took his hand and placed it on the seat, I took his hand and ran it across the edges of the roof and door frame, and then with his hand I patted the seat so he knew I wanted him to sit. He sat and I handed him the seatbelt and he fastened it himself. I then led his hand to the grab rail and let him hold on to it. We then drove him to the command post and reunited him with his party. He then walked over with his family member and touched my badge and then my face again. He then did the sign in hands thing again and his interpreter told me that he wanted to tell me thank you. I told him through his interpreter that he was welcome that I was glad to help.

    Ever since I've been trying to learn American sign language.
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  6. #6
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    I then took the subjects hand and placed it on my badge and let him feel it.
    Reps.
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  7. #7
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    He then walked over with his family member and touched my badge and then my face again. He then did the sign in hands thing again and his interpreter told me that he wanted to tell me thank you. I told him through his interpreter that he was welcome that I was glad to help.
    That's wonderful!

  8. #8
    Radar's Avatar
    Radar is offline We all bleed blue
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    Well we had it better in the sense that we were looking for him as opposed to stumbling across him. We knew he couldn't see us or hear us and wouldn't be able to speak to us.
    Here Speeder, Speeder, Speeder


    "Oderint dum metuant" - Caligula

    "How come you only call me when someone's dead?"

 

 

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