WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today a major three-part initiative to help state and local law enforcement agencies understand their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Under this initiative, the Department released several new publications; conducted an outreach mailing to 25,000 police departments, sheriff’s offices, highway patrols, and other state and local law enforcement agencies and training academies nationwide; and added a fully accessible streaming video for law enforcement to its ADA Web site.
“This disability rights initiative demonstrates the Department’s continuing commitment to help state and local governments – including law enforcement – understand and comply with the ADA,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
The most frequent complaint the Justice Department receives against law enforcement under the ADA is the lack of effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. To assist agencies in complying with this aspect of the law, the Department developed a pocket guide on "Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: ADA Guide for Law Enforcement" and a "Model Policy for Law Enforcement on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing." These publications are included in the outreach mailing to law enforcement agencies nationwide and can also be downloaded from the ADA Web site or ordered from the ADA Information Line.
The Department also made available today a law enforcement video, Police Response to People with Disabilities, addressing law enforcement situations involving people who have mobility disabilities, mental illnesses, mental retardation, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, speech disabilities, hearing disabilities, or vision disabilities. Intended for use in roll-call training, the videotape is divided into eight segments ranging from 5 ½ to 10 ½ minutes in length. In addition to appearing on the ADA Web site, copies of the video can be ordered from the Department.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the ADA can call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY) or can access the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov.