Vancouver – Vancouver Police are breaking down barriers with a new partnership that aims to improve communication between police and people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
“We know it can be stressful and frustrating when a person who is deaf and hard-0f-hearing experiences barriers to inclusion, so when the folks at Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility approached us with a way to improve communication, equity, and inclusion with their community, we jumped at the chance to partner,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “Together, we’ve developed a solution to help our frontline officers better communicate with people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.”
All Vancouver Police patrol vehicles – including motorcycles – are now equipped with a two-sided visor card that includes icons and wording to improve communication between officers and people who are deaf and hard-of hearing. Additional cards are available for pickup at any of the three Wavefront offices in Vancouver.
One side of the card features words and icons that help police officers indicate their intentions, such as the purpose of a traffic stop, the need to see a driver’s licence, or how to pay and dispute a ticket. The other side is for people who are deaf, blind, and hard-of-hearing to communicate with police officers.
“The visor card is a milestone with our local community to improve accessibility and inclusion,” says Christopher T. Sutton, Chief Executive Officer at Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility. “When persons with disabilities can participate in all aspects of society, it enriches Canada’s economic and cultural diversity.”
The visor cards were funded through a grant from the Vancouver Police Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports VPD’s efforts to promote community well-being, increase public safety, and prevent crime.
Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility is B.C.-based charitable not-for-profit organization. Wavefront Centre delivers innovative services in Audiology and Communication Devices, Counselling, Seniors Outreach, and Accessible Communication Services that assist people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing achieve full communication accessibility.