The Rocky Mountain ADA Center Creates Customized Pocket Guide Signs of the Law for the Colorado Springs Police Department

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First-of-a-kind guide designed to increase communication between officers and people who are deaf or hard of hearing

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center (RMADAC), a member of the National Network of ADA Centers, is pleased to announce it has created and delivered to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD ) the region’s first easy-to-use pocket guide, Signs of the Law, designed to support CSPD’s ongoing efforts to find innovative methods to increase effective communication between CSPD’s officers and citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“Our internal design and technical assistance team members are extremely proud to have partnered with the CSPD on this valuable tool which will assist in improving effective communications between officers and people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Dana Barton, Director of RMADAC. “CSPD deserves a great deal of credit for being the first department in the rocky mountain region to partner on a guide of this nature and we are hopeful other agencies in the region and across the U.S. will look to the department’s leadership and vision on this front and will consider having a guide like this developed by our team in the future.”

Designing the Signs of the Law pocket guide’s images and language was a collaboration between CSPD and RMADAC. The process to develop the guide took less than three weeks and was 100% customized to CSPD’s specific needs. The two organizations partnered on the content, photography and design which was tailored to consistent interactions CSPD has with the deaf and hard of hearing population. “We have the ability to customize guides of this nature to target any specific item involving ADA and law enforcement, and their interactions with any population within the disability community,” added Barton.

Information within Signs of the Law include:     

Complete American Sign Language (ASL) Alphabet with photos of people displaying each letter
30 ASL signs which encapsulate common interactions including:

  • License/ID?
  • Fast/Speeding
  • What happened?
  • Lawyer

9 Common Communication Tips for officers interacting with those who are deaf/hard of hearing including:

  • Get the person’s attention (tap on shoulder)
  • Look directly at the person while communicating
  • Speak in a normal and clear manner; no need to yell or exaggerate
  • Write down your thoughts if the message is not being received

To review the entire Signs of the Law pocket guide, please click HERE.

“Creating effective communication programs between our officers and all our citizens is critical to the work we do to serve Colorado Springs,” said CSPD Chief Vince Niski. “Today we are happy to launch this new pocket guide that will enhance the way our officers communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing community. Following the creation of Signs of the Law, the CSPD extended an invitation of participation to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Fountain Police Department, and the Monument Police Department, who have all accepted. We’re excited to partner with these agencies to assist them in communicating with citizens in their own communities.”

About the Rocky Mountain ADA Center: The Rocky Mountain ADA Center provides information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to individuals and organizations throughout Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is a member of the National Network of ADA Centers and is funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DP0094-01-00). Our center is powered by and a project of Meeting the Challenge, Inc. located in Colorado Springs, CO. The center’s staff members represent a diverse and dynamic group of individuals who are dedicated to the driving spirit of the ADA as well as the complex standards behind the law. To connect with the Rocky Mountain ADA Center on social media, click here.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is available to assist with any of the following areas: Material Dissemination, Technical Assistance on the ADA, Training, Referrals and Research, to review past research projects spearheaded by RMADAC and University partners, click here.

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is composed of two bureaus with many divisions, sections and units that work together to meet the unique needs of our community. Each bureau reports to the Office of the Chief of Police.

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Joshua Steinfeld
Rocky Mountain ADA Center
+1 339-225-1581
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