- This matter was initiated by a compliance review of Talladega County E9-1-1 Services under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134, by the United States Attorney, Northern District of Alabama.
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America (the "United States") and the City of Lincoln, Alabama (the "City") 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:
- The ADA applies to the City because it is a public entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12115.
- The City denies that any action it has taken constitutes a violation of the ADA. This Agreement shall not be constructed as an admission of liability by the City. The City also agrees that it will abide by all of the requirements of the ADA.
- The subject of this Agreement is the provision of direct access to the City's 9-1-1 services for individuals with disabilities who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD's), and the development 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. 23 C.F.R. ï½§ï½§ 35.162, 35.130(B)(III), and 35.130(B)(7).
POLICIES, PRACTICES, AND PROCEDURES
- 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:
- All 9-1-1 call-takers recognize incoming TDD tones and respond appropriately via TDD; and
- All 9-1-1 call-takers consider "silent" open lines as potential TDD calls and query each silent line with a TDD to determine whether it is a TDD call.
These polices, practices and procedures shall be incorporated into the Standard Operating Procedures.
- 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, 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.
- To insure the effectiveness of its training, the City shall:
- 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 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 over a period of two years from the effective date of this Agreement in order to maintain call-takers' skill levels.
- 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.
TESTING AND AUDIT
- Within 90 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall, on a quarterly basis, conduct test TDD calls on each watch 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 actions taken to remedy inadequacies uncovered by the tests. The quarterly testing and semi-annual audit reports shall be required for two years from the effective date of this Agreement.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
For the City of Lincoln:
P.O. Box 172
47465 US HWY 78
Lincoln, Alabama 35096
For the United States:
G. DOUGLAS JONES
United States Attorney
Linda S. Trippe
Assistant United States Attorney
Robert S. Vance Federal Courthouse
1800-5th Avenue North - Suite 200
Birmingham, Alabama 35203-2189