- This matter was initiated by a compliance review of the City of Muskogee Police Department 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, Eastern District of Oklahoma. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America (the "United States") and the City of Muskogee, Oklahoma (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:
- By signing this Agreement, the City 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 the City because it is a public entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C ï½§ 12115 and 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 the City's 9-1-1 services by individuals who use TDD's and the development and/or continuation of policies and proceduresto ensure that the 9-1-1 services provided to individuals who use TDD's are as effective as those provided to other telephone users. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ï½§ 35.162, 35.130(b)(iii), and 35.130(b)(7).
- In order to provide individuals who use TDD's with direct access to the City 9-1-1 services, the City agrees that it will, within 90 days of the date of this agreement:
- The City will acquire additional TDD equipment in order to maintain TDD's at each call-taking position so that each answering position has the capability to respond directly to callers on a TDD and make call backs.
- Acquire additional TDD equipment, or equivalent, to ensure that backup equipment will be provided in case of an emergency or TDD malfunction.
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 that
- All 9-1-1 call-takers consider "silent" open lines as potential TDD calls and will query the line by use of the TDD equipment. These procedures will be incorporated into the Standard Operating Procedures.
- In order to ensure the proper operation of TDD's and related equipment and effective processing of TDD calls by 9-1-1 call-takers, the City agrees to provide or 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 Americans with Disabilities Act 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; and c) practical instruction on identification and processing of TDD calls, including the handling of calls (including silent calls) and the importance of syntax and TDD protocol when responding.
- Beginning on the effective date of this Agreement, the City will instruct all of its 9-1-1 call-takers and others who are in any way responsible for the provision of telephone emergency services to comply with the provisions of this Agreement.
- The City agrees to:
- Establish criteria and test each trainee's competency at the conclusion of the training described in paragraph 8.
- 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 for all 9-1-1 employees to maintain skill level and provide information on changing technologies.
- Document all training provided for one year, including each 9-1-1 call-taker's title and the date each received training, and provide a copy of the documentation to the Department of Justice upon request.
- Commence the actions specified in paragraphs 10a. through 10d. on the effective date of this Agreement.
- Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City agrees to publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation. This notice will inform members of the public about provisions of Title II of the ADA and its applicability to the City's 9-1-1 services. The United States Attorney's Office (USAO) would request that a copy of the newspaper publication be forwarded to the USAO at 1200 West Okmulgee, Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401, Attention: Cheryl Triplett.
- The City agrees to provide a copy of the notice to any person 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 one year 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 the 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 Muskogee:
City of Muskogee
For the United States:
United States Attorney
CHERYL R. TRIPLETT
Assistant United States Attorney
Eastern District of Oklahoma
1200 West Okmulgee
Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401