Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The City Of Danbury, Connecticut

  1. This matter was initiated by a compliance review on November 25, 1997 of Danbury Fire Department under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") 42 U.S.C. ァァ12131-12134, by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.
  2. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America (the "United States") and the City of Danbury, Connecticut (the "City"). 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 hereby agree as follows:

  3. The ADA applies to the City because it is a public entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ァ 12115.
  4. The City denies that any action it has taken constitutes a violation of the ADA. This Agreement shall not be construed as an admission of liability by the City. The City also agrees that it will abide by all of the requirements of the ADA.
  5. The subject of this Settlement Agreement is the provision of direct access to the Danbury Fire Department's (the "Department") 9-1-1 services for individuals with disabilities who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs), and the development of policies and procedures to ensure that the 9-1-1 services provided to individuals who use TDDs are as effective as those provided to other telephone users 28 C.F.R. ァァ 35.162, 35.130(b)(iii), and 35.130(b)(7).

TECHNOLOGY

  1. In order to provide individuals who use TDDs with direct access to the Department 9-1-1 services, the City agrees that it will, within 90 days of the date of this agreement:
    1. Acquire and install sufficient additional stand alone TDD equipment, or the equivalent, so that each answering position has the capability to respond directly to callers who use TDDs and to make call-backs.
    2. Acquire additional TDD equipment, or the equivalent, to ensure that backup equipment will be available in case of an emergency or TDD malfunction.
    3. Evaluate its 9-1-1 system and procedures regarding processing of TDD calls that request fire services, and modify the system and procedures in order to ensure effective call handling.
    4. Include TDD equipment in power failure contingency plans.
    5. Maintain and record TDD calls electronically.

POLICIES, PRACTICES, AND PROCEDURES

  1. In order to ensure effective processing of TDD calls, the City shall, within 90 days of the date of this agreement, establish and implement policies, practices and procedures to ensure that:
    1. All 9-1-1 call-takers recognize incoming TDD tones and respond appropriately via TDD; and that
    2. All 9-1-1 call-takers should query each "silent" line with a TDD to determine whether it is a TDD call.

      These policies, practices and procedures shall be incorporated into the Standard Operating Procedures.

TRAINING

  1. In order to ensure the proper operation of TDDs and related equipment, as well as the effective processing of TDD calls by 9-1-1 call-takers, the City shall provide comprehensive training for every 9-1-1 call-taker, including newly hired call takers. The training must include: a) general information about title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; b) general information about communication issues regarding individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments, including 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 and relayed calls. For current employees, training shall take place as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days after the effective date of this Agreement. For new employees, the training required pursuant to this Agreement shall be included as part of the regular training or instruction program and shall be conducted no later than 10 days after beginning employment.
  2. To insure the effectiveness of its training, the City shall:
    1. Utilize the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.'s Emergency Access Self-Evaluation program or its equivalent to establish criteria and test each trainee's competency at the conclusion of the training described in paragraph 8, above;
    2. Develop and implement a supplemental training plan for any 9-1-1 call-taker who does not satisfactorily complete the required training.
    3. Provide a refresher training course every six months over a period of two years from the effective date of this Agreement in order to maintain call-takers' skill levels.
    4. Document all training provided, including each 9-1-1 call-taker's employee number, title and the date of training, and provide copies of the documentation to the Department of Justice upon request.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

  1. Within 90 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall initiate a process with individuals from the local community(ies) who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments, to develop and implement a public education program to promote the use of 9-1-1 services by individuals who use TDDs. Such program shall be implemented by the Department within 180 days of this Agreement.

TESTING AND AUDIT

  1. Within 90 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall, on a quarterly basis, conduct TDD test calls on each shift to each call-taking position. These tests shall be unannounced and shall be documented to include the date and time of the test, the call-taker position, identification of the call as "silent" or transmitting tones, time elapsed from the initiation of the TDD call until the 9-1-1 call-taker responds, and whether the call was processed properly and efficiently according to departmental policies and training directives. If testing reveals inadequacies in the handling of TDD calls, the City shall take immediate remedial action that may include as appropriate: additional training, equipment changes, additional policy or procedural changes, and disciplinary action. Results from each round of tests shall be summarized and sent to counsel for the United States on a semi-annual basis along with a description of any action taken to remedy inadequacies uncovered by the tests. The quarterly testing and semi-annual audit reports shall be required for the two years following the effective date of this Agreement.

PROGRESS REPORT

  1. Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will submit a report to the United States Attorney detailing the actions it has taken to comply with the preceding provisions.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

  1. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to do so with regard to other provisions of this Agreement.
  2. This Agreement is a public document and constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein. Copies of this Agreement shall be made available to any person by either party upon request to that party.
  3. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

For the City of
Danbury, Connecticut:



_____________________________      Date:___________

For the United States of America:

STEPHEN C. ROBINSON
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY



_____________________________      Date:___________
REGINA LONG GILCHRIST
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY
157 CHURCH STREET
NEW HAVEN, CT 06510
(203) 821-3700

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Updated August 6, 2015

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