Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And Dekalb County, Tennessee

  1. This matter was initiated by a compliance review of the DeKalb County, Tennessee 911 Center under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134, by the United States Attorney, Middle District of Tennessee.
  2. The parties tothis Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America (the "United States") and DeKalb County, Tennessee. 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:

  1. The ADA applies to the county because it is a public entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C ァ 12115.
  2. The county 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 county. The county also agrees that it will abide by all of the requirements of the ADA.
  3. The subject of this Settlement Agreement is the provision of direct access to the county'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. 28 C.F.R. ァァ 35.162, 35.130(b)(iii), and 35.130(b)(7).
  4. In order to provide individuals who use TDD's with direct access to the county 9-1-1 services, the county agrees that it will, within 90 days of the date of this Agreement:
    1. Install sufficient additional TDD equipment so that each answering position has the capability to respond directly to callers on a TDD and make call-backs.
    2. Acquire additional TDD equipment, or equivalent, to ensure that backup equipment will be provided 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 county 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 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 policies, practices, and procedures shall be incorporated into the Standard Operating Procedures.

TRAINING

  1. 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 county 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 county 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 county shall initiate a process with communities of individuals 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 TDD's. Such program shall be implemented by the county within 180 days of this Agreement.

TESTING AND AUDIT

  1. Within 90 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the county 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 ones, 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 directive. If testing reveals inadequacies in the handling of TDD calls, the county 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.

PROGRESS REPORT

  1. Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the county 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 DeKalb County, Tennessee:

______________________________      Date: _______________
KATHERINE PACK
Director
DeKalb County 911
100 Public Square Smithville, TN 37166

For the United States:

______________________________      Date: _______________
JOHN M. ROBERTS
United States Attorney

______________________________      Date: _______________
MICHAEL L.RODEN
Assistant U.S. Attorney
110 9th Avenue South, Suite A-961
Nashville, TN 38203-3870

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Updated August 6, 2015

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