Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The Town Of Hayden, Colorado

UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

DJ 204-13-258

BACKGROUND

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice (Department) against the Town of Hayden, Colorado (Town). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complainant alleges that the Town Hall is inaccessible to people with mobility impairments. In addition, the complainant alleges that the sidewalks within the Town are inaccessible to people with mobility impairments.

Because the Town receives financial assistance from the Department of Justice, the investigation was also conducted under the authority of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Department’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G. The Department expanded the scope of the investigation to include the Town’s compliance with the following title II requirements:

· to conduct a self-evaluation of its services, policies, and practices by July 26, 1992, and make modifications necessary to comply with the Department’s title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.105;

· to notify applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons of their rights and the Town’s obligations under title II and the Department’s regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.106;

· to designate a responsible employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out the Town’s ADA responsibilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a);

· to establish a grievance procedure for resolving complaints of violations of title II, 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b);

· to operate each program, service, or activity so that, when viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.150, by:

· delivery of services, programs, or activities in alternate ways, including, for example, redesign of equipment, reassignment of services, assignment of aides, home visits, or other methods of compliance or, if these methods are not effective in making the programs accessible,

· physical changes to buildings (required to have been made by January 26, 1995), in accordance with the Department’s title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.151, and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards), 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, App. A, or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS), 41 C.F.R. § 101-19.6, App. A.

· to ensure that facilities for which construction or alteration was begun after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, in accordance with 1) the Department’s title II regulation and 2) the Standards or UFAS, 28 C.F.R. § 35.151;

· to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others, including furnishing auxiliary aids and services when necessary, 28 C.F.R. § 35.160;

· to provide information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Town’s accessible services, activities, and facilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(a); and

· to provide signage at all inaccessible entrances to each of its facilities, directing users to an accessible entrance or to information about accessible facilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b).

As part of its compliance review, the Department reviewed the following facility, which – because alterations commenced after January 26, 1992 – must comply with the ADA’s alterations requirements: Town Hall at 178 West Jefferson Avenue.

The Department reviewed the Town’s policies and procedures regarding voting, emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance to evaluate whether persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to utilize these programs.

Finally, the Department reviewed the Town’s Police Department policies and procedures regarding providing effective communication to persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

JURISDICTION

1. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the compliance of the Town with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. section 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.

2. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the Town’s compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to issue findings, and, where appropriate to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 29 U.S.C. § 794 and 28 C.F.R. sections 42.530, 42.108-110, to suspend or terminate financial assistance to the Town provided by the Department of Justice should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart G or bring a civil suit to enforce the rights of the United States under applicable federal, state, or local law.

3. The ADA applies to the Town because it is a “public entity” as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).

4. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Town of Hayden, Colorado.

5. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties enter into this Agreement.

6. In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter regarding all matters contained within this Agreement, except as provided in the section entitled “Implementation and Enforcement.”

ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE TOWN OF HAYDEN

7. The Town conducted a self-evaluation and developed a transition plan in 1992. In order to ensure that the programs offered at Town facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility impairments, the Town quickly installed signage, accessible parking and provided access to the Town Hall.

REMEDIAL ACTION

GENERAL EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION PROVISIONS

8. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and vendors that can put documents in Braille, and will implement and report to the Department its written procedures, with time frames, for fulfilling requests from the public for sign language or oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and documents in alternate formats (Braille, large print, cassette tapes, etc.).

9. The Town will take steps to ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using the State of Colorado Relay Service to make and receive calls.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

10. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will adapt for its own use and implement the Town of Hayden Policy Statement on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment A] and distribute to all Town officers the Guide for Law Enforcement Officers When in Contact with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment B].

11. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will contract with one or more local qualified oral/sign language interpreter agencies to ensure that the interpreting services will be available on a priority basis, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, to its Police Department or make other appropriate arrangements (such as contracting directly with or hiring qualified interpreters).

12. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will ensure that each Police Department station or substation is equipped with a working TTY to enable persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments to make outgoing telephone calls. Where arrestees or inmate telephone calls are time-limited, the Town will adopt policies permitting inmates who use TTY’s a longer period of time to make those calls, due to the slower nature of TTY communications compared with voice communications.

VOTING

13. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will develop and implement a way for persons who are blind or have low vision to vote independently and privately, whether through ballots and instructions in alternate formats (in-person and absentee), Braille templates and audio instructions, the provision of accessible voting machines, or some other method.

14. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will make all voter registration materials available in alternate formats, including Braille, large print, audio tape, and computer disk.

15. Starting three months from the effective date of this Agreement, when the Town purchases or otherwise acquires new voting machines, one such newly-acquired machine per polling location will be the most accessible model for persons with disabilities (including those with mobility and visual impairments) that has been approved for Town use by the applicable governing authority (e.g., State Secretary of Elections or other such official).

16. Starting three months from the effective date of this Agreement, when setting up its voting equipment, the Town will ensure that the equipment’s accessibility to persons with disabilities is maximized, such as setting up table-top equipment on accessible tables and within the reach ranges required by the Standards.

17. Within the month prior to the next election that utilizes the Town polling places, and at yearly anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement until it expires, the Town will train poll workers on the rights of people with disabilities and the practical aspects of assuring those rights. The training will cover, at minimum, the need to maintain the physical accessibility of polling locations; how to assist people with disabilities, as necessary; and how to operate any non-standard voting equipment or accessible features of standard equipment (particularly new, accessible equipment).

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

18. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that it regularly solicits and incorporates input from persons with a variety of disabilities and those who serve them regarding all phases of its emergency management plan (preparation, notification, response, and clean up).

19. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that its community evacuation plans enable those who have mobility impairments, vision impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, mental illness, or other disabilities to safely self-evacuate or be evacuated by others. Some communities are instituting voluntary, confidential registries of persons with disabilities who may need individualized evacuation assistance or notification. If the Town adopts or maintains such a registry, its report to the Department will discuss its procedures for ensuring voluntariness, appropriate confidentiality controls, and how the registry will be kept updated, as well as its outreach plan to inform persons with disabilities of its availability. Whether or not a registry is used, the Town plan should address accessible transportation needs for persons with disabilities.

20. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that if its emergency warning systems use sirens or other audible alerts, it will also provide ways to inform persons with hearing impairments of an impending disaster. The use of auto-dialed TTY messages to pre-registered individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, text messaging, e-mails, open-captioning on local TV stations and other innovative uses of technology may be incorporated into such procedures, as well as lower-tech options such as dispatching qualified sign language interpreters to assist with emergency TV broadcasts.

21. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that at least one emergency shelter has a back-up generator and a way to keep medications refrigerated (such as a refrigerator or a cooler with ice). Such shelter(s) will be made available to persons whose disabilities require access to electricity and refrigeration, for example, for using life-sustaining medical devices, providing power to motorized wheelchairs, and preserving certain medications, such as insulin, that require refrigeration. The written procedures will include a plan for notifying persons of the location of such shelter(s).

22. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that persons who use service animals are not separated from their service animals when sheltering during an emergency, even if pets are normally prohibited in shelters. The procedures will not unnecessarily segregate persons who use service animals from others but may take into account the potential presence of persons who, for safety or health reasons, should not be in contact with certain types of animals.

23. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written procedures that ensure that it has identified temporary accessible housing (such as accessible hotel rooms within the community or in nearby communities) that could be used if people with disabilities cannot immediately return home after a disaster if, for instance, necessary accessible features such as ramps or electrical systems have been compromised.

SIDEWALKS

24. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the Department its written process for soliciting and receiving input from persons with disabilities regarding the accessibility of its sidewalks, including, for example, requests to add curb cuts at particular locations.

25. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify and report to the Department all streets, roads, and highways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992. Paving, repaving, or resurfacing a street, road, or highway is considered an alteration for the purposes of this Agreement. Within three years of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all intersections of the streets, roads, and highways identified under this paragraph having curbs or other barriers to entry from a street level pedestrian walkway.

26. Beginning no later than one month after the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at any intersection having curbs or other barriers to entry from a street level pedestrian walkway, whenever a new street, road, or highway is constructed or altered.

27. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify all street level pedestrian walkways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992. Paving, repaving, or resurfacing a walkway is considered an alteration for the purposes of this Agreement. Within three years of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all places where a street level pedestrian walkway identified under this paragraph intersects with a street, road, or highway.

28. Beginning no later than three months after the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all newly constructed or altered pedestrian walkways where they intersect a street, road, or highway.

PHYSICAL CHANGES TO FACILITIES

29. The elements or features of the Town’s facilities that do not comply with the Standards, including those listed in Attachment C, prevent persons with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying the Town’s services, programs, or activities and constitute discrimination on the basis of disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12132 and 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.149 and 35.150.

30. The Town will comply with the cited provisions of the Standards when taking the actions required by this Agreement.

31. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will install signage as necessary to comply with 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b), after having surveyed all facilities that are the subject of this Agreement for the purpose of identifying those that have multiple entrances not all of which are accessible.

32. Altered Facilities: In order to ensure that the spaces and elements in the Town’s facilities for which alterations commenced after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, the Town will take the actions listed in Attachment C.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

33. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at yearly anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement until it expires, the Town will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the Town has taken pursuant to this Agreement. Reports will include detailed photographs showing measurements, architectural plans, work orders, notices published in the newspaper, copies of adopted policies, and proof of efforts to secure funding/assistance for structural renovations or equipment.

34. Throughout the life of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), the Town will maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, and will take whatever actions are necessary (such as routine testing of accessibility equipment and routine accessibility audits of its programs and facilities) to do so. This provision does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs. 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(b).

35. Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will develop or procure a two-hour training program on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving persons with disabilities. The Town will use the ADA technical assistance materials developed by the Department and will consult with interested persons, including individuals with disabilities, in developing or procuring the ADA training program.

36. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will deliver its training program to all Town employees who have direct contact with members of the public. At the end of that period, the Town will submit a copy of its training curriculum and materials to the Department, along with a list of employees trained and the name, title, and address of the trainer.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

37. If at any time the Town desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

38. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that the Town has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for a modification of the relevant terms, the Department will so notify the Town in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Town, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or it may initiate appropriate steps to enforce title II and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

39. For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the Town to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.

40. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.

41. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by the Town or the Department on request.

42. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, 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 (including its Attachments, which are hereby incorporated by reference), will be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Town’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

43. This Agreement will remain in effect for three years. 44. The person signing for the Town of Hayden, Colorado, represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Town to this Agreement.

45. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

For the Town of Hayden:

CHARLES GROBE, Mayor

By: ____________________________
P.O. Box 190
178 West Jefferson Avenue
Hayden, Colorado 81639

Date: _______7/15/2004_________

For the United States:

R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA,
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

By:_____________________________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
JEANINE WORDEN, Deputy Chief
MARY LOU MOBLEY, Senior Counsel
NAOMI MILTON, Supervisory Attorney
BROOKS SINGER, Esq., Investigator
MICHELE ANTONIO MALLOZZI, Architect
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Washington, DC 20530

Date: _______8/5/2004_____________




Attachment A to Settlement Agreement between
the United States of America and the Town of Hayden, Colorado in DJ 204-13-258

TOWN OF HAYDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY STATEMENT

REGARDING EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH PEOPLE

WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING

OVERVIEW

It is the policy of this law enforcement agency (“Agency”) to ensure that a consistently high level of service is provided to all community members, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. This Agency has specific legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. To carry out these policies and legal obligations, the Agency instructs its officers and employees as follows:

● People who identify themselves as deaf or hard of hearing are entitled to a level of service equivalent to that provided hearing persons.

● The Agency will make every effort to ensure that its officers and employees communicate effectively with people who have identified themselves as deaf or hard of hearing.

● Effective communication with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing involved in an incident -- whether as a victim, witness, suspect, or arrestee -- is essential in ascertaining what actually occurred, the urgency of the matter, and type of situation.

● Various types of communication aids – known as “auxiliary aids and services” – are used to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These include use of gestures or visual aids to supplement oral communication; an exchange of written notes; use of a computer or typewriter; use of assistive listening devices (to amplify sound for persons who are hard of hearing); or use of qualified oral or sign language interpreters.

● The type of aid that will be required for effective communication will depend on the individual’s usual method of communication, and the nature, importance, and duration of the communication at issue.

● In many circumstances, oral communication supplemented by gestures and visual aids, an exchange of written notes, use of a computer or typewriter, or use of an assistive listening device may be effective. In other circumstances, qualified sign language or oral interpreters are needed to communicate effectively with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The more lengthy, complex, and important the communication, the more likely it is that a qualified interpreter will be required for effective communication with a person whose primary means of communication is sign language or speech reading. For example:

– If there has been an incident and the officer is conducting witness interviews, a qualified sign language interpreter may be required to communicate effectively with someone whose primary means of communication is sign language.

– If a person is asking an officer for directions to a location, gestures and an exchange of written notes will likely be sufficient to communicate effectively and a sign language interpreter is often not required.


● To serve each individual effectively, primary consideration should be given to the communication aid or service that works best for that person. Officers must ask persons who are deaf or hard of hearing what type of auxiliary aid or service they need. Officers must defer to those expressed choices, unless there is another equally effective way of communicating, given the circumstances, length, complexity, and importance of the communication, as well as the communication skills of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

● The Agency is not required to provide a particular auxiliary aid or service if doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the law enforcement activity in question, or if it would cause an undue administrative or financial burden. Only the Agency head or his or her designee may make this determination. For example:

– If the Agency has limited financial resources and providing a particular auxiliary aid would cost a large sum of money, the Agency head may determine that it would be an undue financial burden (note: the Agency’s budget as a whole must be considered). In this situation, the most effective means of communication that does not involve an undue burden must be used.

● The input of people who are deaf or hard of hearing who are involved in incidents is just as important to the law enforcement process as the input of others. Officers must not draw conclusions about incidents unless they fully understand -- and are understood by -- all those involved, including persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

● People who are deaf or hard of hearing must never be charged for the cost of an auxiliary aid or service needed for effective communication.

ON-CALL INTERPRETIVE SERVICES

● The Agency will maintain a list of sign language and oral interpreting services that are available (on-call 24 hours per day) and willing to provide qualified interpreters as needed. Each of these services will be chosen after having been screened for the quality and skill of its interpreters, its reliability, and other factors such as cost. The Agency will update this list annually.

● A qualified sign language or oral interpreter is one who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. Accordingly, an interpreter must be able to sign to the deaf individual (or interpret orally to the person who does not use sign language) what is being said by the hearing person and to voice to the hearing person what is being signed or said by the deaf individual. The interpreter must be able to interpret in the language the deaf person uses (e.g., American Sign Language or Signed English) and must be familiar with law enforcement terms and phrases. Because a qualified interpreter must be able to interpret impartially, a family member, child, or friend of the individual who is deaf may not be qualified to render the necessary interpretation because of factors such as professional, emotional, or personal involvement, or considerations of confidentiality. Additionally, although a “qualified” interpreter may be certified, a certified interpreter is not necessarily “qualified,” if he or she is not a good communications match for the deaf person (e.g., where the deaf person uses Signed English and the interpreter uses American Sign Language) or the situation (e.g., where the interpreter is unfamiliar with law enforcement vocabulary). Certification is not required in order for an interpreter to be “qualified.”

TTY AND RELAY SERVICES

● In situations when a nondisabled person would have access to a telephone, officers must provide persons who are deaf or hard of hearing the opportunity to place calls using a text telephone (TTY, also known as a telecommunications device for deaf people, or TDD). Officers must also accept telephone calls placed by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing through the Telecommunications Relay Service.


TECHNIQUES FOR OFFICERS TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

● Officers must review and have a working knowledge of Guide for Law Enforcement Officers When In Contact With People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This document reviews how officers should communicate effectively in the types of situations officers will encounter. These situations include:

– Issuing a noncriminal or motor vehicle citation.
– Communicating with a person who initiates contact with an officer.
– Interviewing a victim or critical witness to an incident.
– Questioning a person who is a suspect in a crime.
– Making an arrest or taking a person into custody.
– Issuing Miranda Warnings to a person under arrest or in custody.
– Interrogating a person under arrest or in custody.

TYPES OF AUXILIARY AIDS AND SERVICES

● Officers must utilize the following auxiliary aids, when available, to communicate effectively:

– Use of gestures
– Use of visual aids
– Exchange of written notes
– Use of computers or typewriters
– Use of assistive listening devices
– Use of teletypewriters (TTY’s)
– Use of qualified oral or sign language interpreters



Attachment B to Settlement Agreement between
the United States of America and the Town of Hayden, Colorado in DJ 204-13-258

TOWN OF HAYDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT

GUIDE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

When In Contact With People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

As a law enforcement officer, you can expect to come into contact with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits State and local government from discriminating against an individual with a disability. Municipal and State police and county sheriff departments are bound by this Federal law. Your office has adopted a more detailed policy regarding law enforcement officers’ communication with people who are deaf of hard of hearing. You should become familiar with this policy.

What does title II require of you when interacting with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing? Among other things, your communication with such an individual must be as effective as your communication with hearing people.

How do you communicate? Provide aids or services as necessary to ensure that the deaf or hard of hearing individual understands what you are saying and that you understand him or her. These can include:

– use of qualified sign language or oral interpreters
– for people who are hard of hearing, speaking loudly and clearly, and use of assistive listening devices (to amplify sound)
– use of gestures or visual aids to supplement oral communication
– an exchange of written notes
– or use of a computer or typewriter.

What method of communication should you use? The law requires you to give primary consideration to the individual’s preference. Ask how the person wishes to communicate.

For example, some people who are deaf do not use sign language and may need to use a different aid or rely on lipreading. In one-on-one communication with an individual who lip reads, an officer should face the individual directly, and should ensure that the communication takes place in a well-lighted area.

Honor the individual’s choice unless it would significantly interfere with your law enforcement responsibilities or you are confident that other means of communicating, that may be easier to provide, are just as effective. Remember that deaf or hard of hearing persons must be able to understand you as well as those who do not have hearing impairments.

DO NOT ask a family member or friend to interpret for a deaf individual unless it is urgent to communicate immediately and that is the only option. If the deaf person requests that arrangement and the other person agrees, however, you can proceed.

How do you know when you are communicating clearly to an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing? Ask the person to summarize what you are saying. Test his or her understanding.

If the person uses sign language, what kinds of communication require an interpreter? Consider the length, importance, and complexity of the communication, as well as the context.

– In a simple encounter, such as checking a driver’s license or giving directions, a notepad and pencil or perhaps gestures will normally be sufficient.

– During interrogations and arrests, a sign language interpreter will often be necessary.

– If the legality of a conversation will be questioned in court, such as where Miranda warnings are issued, a sign language interpreter may be necessary. You should be careful about
misunderstandings in the absence of a qualified interpreter. A nod of the head may be an attempt to appear cooperative in the midst of misunderstanding, rather than consent or a confession of wrongdoing.

– In general, if an individual who does not have a hearing disability would be subject to police action without interrogation, then an interpreter will not be required, unless one is necessary to explain the action being taken.

Example: An officer clocks a car on the highway driving 15 miles above the speed limit. The driver, who is deaf, is pulled over and issued a noncriminal citation. The individual is able to understand the reasons for the citation, because the officer exchanges notes and points to information on the citation. A sign language interpreter is not needed.

Example: An officer responds to an aggravated battery call and upon arriving at the scene observes a bleeding victim and an individual holding a weapon. Eyewitnesses observed the individual strike the victim. The individual with the weapon is deaf, but the officer has probable cause to make a felony arrest without an interrogation. An interpreter is not necessary to carry out the arrest.

Example: An officer responds to the scene of a domestic disturbance. The husband says the wife has been beating their children and he has been trying to restrain her. The wife, who is deaf, requests an interpreter. The officer begins by exchanging notes but the woman’s responses indicate a lack of comprehension and poor grammar. An interpreter is necessary to carry out any arrest. In this situation, it would be inappropriate to use a family member to assist with communication, even if it is offered.

Do you have to take a sign language interpreter to a call about a violent crime in progress or a similar urgent situation involving a person who is deaf? No. An officer's immediate priority is to stabilize the situation. If the person being arrested is deaf, the officer can make an arrest and call for an interpreter to be available later at the booking station.

Contact numbers for your local sign language interpreters: ___________________________________________________________________________________


Attachment C to Settlement Agreement between
the United States of America and the Town of Hayden, Colorado in DJ 204-13-258


Modifications to Altered Facilities

Altered Facilities: In order to ensure that the following spaces and elements in Town facilities for which alterations commenced after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, the Town will take the following actions:

1. Within 12 months of the effective date of this agreement, the Town will complete the following modifications to the Town Hall located at 178 West Jefferson Avenue.

A. Parking

i. There is no van accessible parking space with a 96 inch wide access aisle and van accessible sign provided in the parking lot. Provide a parking space that is van accessible. Ensure that the van accessible space is a minimum of 96 inches wide and served by an access aisle at least 96 inches wide. At van accessible spaces, provide an additional “Van-Accessible” sign located below the International Symbol of Accessibility. Ensure that all spaces and access aisles for persons with disabilities are flat and level, with slopes and cross-slopes not exceeding 1:50 in all directions, and that their surfaces are firm, stable, and slip-resistant. Standards §§ 4.1.2(5), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.6, 4.30.7(1).

B. Signage

i. There is no directional signage at the inaccessible Town Police Department rear entrance directing people with mobility impairments towards the accessible Town Hall entrances. Provide accessible directional signage with the International Symbol of Accessibility at the rear entrance indicating the locations of the designated accessible entrances. Standards §§ 4.1.3(8)(d), 4.1.3(16)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13, 4.30.

ii. There is no signage at the front and westside entry doors designating them as the accessible entrances. Provide accessible signage with the International Symbol of Accessibility at the front and westside entrances designating them as the accessible permanent entrances. Standards §§ 4.1.3(8)(d), 4.1.3(16)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13, 4.30.

iii. There is no accessible permanent room signage provided for the interior Town Police Department entry door. Provide permanent room signage with upper case, sans serif or simple serif type letters and numerals, meeting the requirements of the Standards for character height, raised characters, finish and contrast, accompanied by Grade 2 Braille; mounted on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door or on the nearest adjacent wall at a height of 60 inches above the finished floor to the centerline of the sign; and located so that a person may approach within 3 inches of the signage without encountering protruding objects or standing within the swing of a door. Standards §§ 4.1.2(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.


C. Exterior Ramps

i. The westside entrance ramp is inaccessible because there is a 1½ inch step at the bottom of the ramp, there are no handrails or handrail extensions provided on the ramp, and there is no edge protection. Provide a ramp that is at least 36 inches wide with a slope not exceeding 1:12 and a cross slope not exceeding 1:50; with level landings at least as wide as the ramp and 60 inches long at the top and bottom of the ramp; and with edge protection at least 2 inches high at the drop off sides. Provide handrails that are between 1¼ inches and 1½ inches in diameter with a continuous gripping surface along both sides of the ramp, extending at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp parallel with the ground surface. Ensure that handrails are mounted between 34 inches and 38 inches above the ramp surface, with ends rounded or returned smoothly to the floor, wall, or post, and that they do not rotate within their fittings. Ensure that the ramp and approaches are designed so that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces. Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.1.2(2), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.3.8, 4.8.

D. Interior Entry Doors

i. The interior front vestibule entry door is inaccessible because the pressure required to open the door is greater than 5 pounds. Provide a door that requires no more than 5 pounds of force to open. Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.11(2)(b).

E. Service Counters

i. The Administration service counter is inaccessible because it is mounted at 42 inches above the finished floor. Provide a counter on an accessible route such that a portion of the counter is at least 36 inches wide and no more than 36 inches above the finished floor, or provide an auxiliary counter with a maximum height of 36 inches in close proximity to the main counter, or provide equivalent facilitation. Equivalent facilitation may be provided in the form of a folding shelf attached to the main counter, an auxiliary table nearby, a clip board made available to the public, or other means. Standards §§ 4.1.1(2), 4.1.6(1)(b), 7.2(2), 4.1.3(1), 4.3.

F. Drinking Fountains

i. There is no drinking fountain provided for people who have difficulty bending or stooping. For each accessible drinking fountain, provide a drinking fountain that is accessible to people who have difficulty bending or stooping. This can be accommodated by the use of a “hi-lo” fountain; by providing one fountain accessible to those who use wheelchairs and one fountain at a standard height convenient for those who have difficulty bending; by providing a fountain accessible to people who use wheelchairs and a cup dispenser, or by such other means as would achieve the required accessibility for each group of people. Standards §§ 4.1.3(10)(a), 4.1.6(1)(b).

G. Town Meeting Room

i. The Town Meeting Room is inaccessible to people with hearing impairments because there is no assistive listening system (“ALS”) provided. Provide a permanently installed ALS or a portable ALS with an adequate number of electrical outlets or other supplementary wiring necessary to support a portable assistive listening system. Also provide at least 2 receivers for use by the general public and signage indicating their availability. Standards §§ 4.1.3(19)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30, 4.33.

H. Men’s and Women’s Toilet Rooms

i. The entry door opening pressure for each toilet room is greater than 5 pounds. Provide a door in each toilet room that requires no more than 5 pounds of force to open. Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.11(2)(b).

ii. The paper towel dispenser is inaccessible in each toilet room because the controls are mounted at 56 inches above the finished floor in the men’s toilet room, and 55 inches above the finished floor in the women’s toilet room. Provide a paper towel dispenser in each toilet room with the controls a maximum height above the finished floor of 48 inches for a forward approach or 54 inches for a side approach and that is accompanied by clear floor space of 30 by 48 inches that allows a forward or parallel approach by a person using a wheelchair. Standards §§ 4.1.3(13), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.27.2, 4.27.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6.

iii. The toilet in the men’s designated accessible stall is inaccessible because the flush control is on the closed side of the stall. Provide a flush control mounted on the “open” side of the toilet’s clear floor space; 44 inches or less above the finished floor; and requiring a maximum of 5 pounds of force to operate; or provide an automatic flush device. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.22.4, 4.16.5, 4.17.2, 4.27.4.

iv. The toilet paper dispenser is inaccessible because it is mounted on the wrong wall and out of reach in the women’s designated accessible stall, and 43 inches from the rear wall in the men’s designated accessible stall. Provide a toilet paper dispenser that is mounted with its top at least 1½ inches under the side grab bar and 36 inches or less from the rear wall and is centered at least 19 inches above the finished floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.22.4, 4.17.3, Fig. 30(d).

v. There is no accessible coat hook provided in each designated accessible stall. Provide a coat hook at a maximum height above the finished floor of 48 inches for a forward approach or 54 inches for a side approach and that is accompanied by clear floor space of 30 by 48 inches that allows a forward or parallel approach by a person using a wheelchair. Standards §§ 4.1.3(12)(a), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.25.2, 4.25.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6.


Updated August 6, 2015

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