I. PURPOSE: To define the procedures for compliance with the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and state statutes governing contact between hearing-impaired persons and the police.
II. POLICY: It is the policy of the Davenport Police Department to ensure that a consistently high level of service is provided to all community members, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Davenport Police Department has specific legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and chapter 804.31 of the State Code.
A. Definitions. (Iowa Code chapter 622B.1)
1. Deaf person means an individual who uses sign language as the person's primary mode of communication and who may use interpreters to facilitate communication.
2. Hard of hearing person means an individual who is unable to hear and distinguish sounds within normal conversational range and who needs to use speech reading, assistive listening devices, or oral interpreters to facilitate communication.
B. General Guidelines.
1. People who identify themselves as deaf or hard of hearing are entitled to a level of service equivalent to that provided hearing persons.
2. People who identify themselves as deaf or hard of hearing must never be charged for the cost of an auxiliary aid or service needed for effective communication.
3. Supervisors will make every effort to ensure that officers and employees communicate effectively with people who have identified themselves as deaf or hard of hearing.
4. Effective communication with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing involved in an incident – whether as a victim, witness, suspect, or arrestee - is essential in ascertaining what actually occurred, the urgency of the matter, and type of situation.
5. In many circumstances communication aids may be used to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These include use of gestures or visual aids to supplement oral communication; an exchange of written notes; use of a computer or typewriter; use of assistive listening devices; other circumstances may require the use of qualified oral or sign language interpreters.
6. The type of aid that will be required for effective communication will depend on the individual's usual method of communication, and the nature, importance, and duration of the communication at issue.
7. To serve each individual effectively, primary consideration should be given to the communication aid or service that works best for that person. Employees must ask persons who are deaf or hard of hearing what type of auxiliary aid or service they need. Employees must defer to those expressed choices, unless there is another equally effective way of communicating, given the circumstances, length, complexity, and importance of the communication, as well as the communication skills of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing.
8. If a deaf or hard of hearing person requests the use of a TTY phone, employees should provide them access to a TTY, either in the PD or in City Hall. Employees must also accept telephone calls placed by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing through the Telecommunications Relay Service.
C. Interpreter Recommended. In order to ensure effective communication with a person whose primary means of communication is sign language or speech reading, a qualified interpreter is recommended in circumstances where the communication is more lengthy, complex, and important.
1. Custodial arrest
2. Custodial interrogation.
3. Issuing implied consent. (Officer may request and administer a preliminary breath test or chemical tests of a body substance prior to the arrival of a qualified interpreter).
D. Suspect Waiver of Rights to Interpreter. A deaf or hard of hearing suspect may knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to an interpreter by using the proper form. The waiver will be presented to the suspect through the interpreter.
1. If the deaf of hard of hearing person waives his right to an interpreter, the arresting officer will complete the form.
2. If the deaf or hard of hearing person agrees to the use of an interpreter, the same forms will be used and will state the name of the interpreter.
3. In each instance, the form will be signed by the deaf or hard of hearing person, unless they refuse, the interpreter, and the arresting officer.
E. A list of qualified interpreters and their phone numbers is to be kept in the station supervisor's office.
Michael R. Bladel
CHIEF OF POLICE