This matter was initiated by a compliance review of Southwest Central Dispatch ("SWCD") under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134, by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
The parties to this Compliance Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and SWCD. The parties have determined that their respective interests can be met by securing compliance by voluntary means and have therefore voluntarily entered into this Agreement.
The parties agree as follows:
- By signing this Agreement, SWCD does not admit that its current services, policies or practices, including those related to its 9-1-1 services, constitute any violation of the ADA or its implementing regulations.
- The ADA applies to SWCD because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulations implementing Title II. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.104.
- The subject of this Agreement is the provision of direct access to SWCD's 9-1-1 services by individuals who use TDD's and the development and/or continuation of policies and procedures to ensure that the 9-1-1 services provided to individuals who use TDD's are as effective as those provided to other telephone users. Technology
- In order to provide direct access by TDD users to 9-1-1 services that are as effective as those provided to voice telephone users, SWCD has as of the effective date of this Agreement:
- Acquired, installed and will maintain a new keyboard TDD system such that SWCD has a TDD at each of its seven call-taking positions;
- Instituted and will continue to maintain a system to record TDD calls electronically and will retain those records for the same period of time as recordings of voice telephone calls are maintained;
- Maintained and will continue to maintain backup equipment in case of an emergency or TDD malfunction; and
- Included and will continue to include TDD equipment in power failure contingency plans.
- Within 90 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SWCD will:
- Establish and maintain a working relationship with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairments in order to continue to evaluate the services, practices and procedures that relate to SWCD's 9-1-1 services.
- Based on its ongoing evaluation, SWCD agrees to modify its current policies, practices and procedures relating to the existing 9-1-1 system, as may be required, to ensure that TDD calls for 9-1-1 services are processed effectively.
- In order to ensure the proper operation of TDD's and related equipment, as well as the effective processing of TDD calls by 9-1-1 call-takers, SWCD has provided, and will continue to provide, comprehensive training for every 9-1-1 call-taker, including new hires. The training includes: a) general information about Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; b) general information about communication issues regarding individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairments, including general information about American Sign Language; and c) practical instruction on identifying and processing of TDD calls, including the importance of using proper syntax and protocol when responding to TDD calls.
- SWCD agrees to instruct its employees who are responsible for providing 9-1-1 services to comply with the applicable provisions of this Agreement.
- SWCD agrees to continue to:
- Establish criteria and test each trainee's competency at the conclusion of the training described in paragraph 7 above;
- Develop and implement a supplemental training plan for any 9-1-1 call-taker who does not satisfactorily complete the required training;
- Provide a refresher training course every six months from the effective date of this Agreement in order to maintain skill level;
- Document all training provided, including each call-taker's employee number, title and the date of the training, and provide a copy of the documentation to the Department of Justice upon request; and
- Begin the actions specified in paragraphs 9.a through 9.d on the effective date of this Agreement and continue these actions as indicated above.
- Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SWCD agrees to publish a notice on two separate occasions in a newspaper of general circulation. This notice will inform members of the public about provisions of Title II of the ADA, its applicability to SWCD's 9-1-1 services and SWCD's efforts to comply with ADA requirements.
- SWCD agrees to provide a copy of the notice to any person or entity upon request. Progress Report
- Within 45 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SWCD will submit a report to the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois detailing the actions it has taken to comply with the preceding provisions. This report will include copies of notices published in newspapers. Implementation and Enforcement of Agreement
- This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person. SWCD will provide a copy of the Agreement to any person upon request.
- The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois may review whether SWCD is in compliance with this Agreement at any time upon reasonable notice. If the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois determines that this Agreement or any requirement in it has been violated and if the violation is not resolved through reasonable attempts at conciliation, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement, and/or seeking remedies provided for under the ADA, in federal court.
- Failure by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision in it with respect to any deadline or any other provision, will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
- This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised, and no other statement, promise or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable under its provisions. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violation of the ADA of any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect SWCD's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title II of the ADA.
Southwest Central Dispatch
7611 West College Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60423-1008
For the United States:
SCOTT R. LASSAR
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604