Justice Department Settles Effective Communication Case with Wallingford Police Department
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Town of Wallingford Police Department have reached a settlement agreement under which the Wallingford Police Department agrees to implement training and ensure its policies comply with the effective communication requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Police Department voluntarily agreed to enter into the settlement agreement during the Justice Department’s investigation into allegations that the Police Department failed to effectively communicate with persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“We commend the Town of Wallingford for voluntarily entering into this settlement agreement,” stated U.S. Attorney Daly. “By doing so, they are ensuring that there will be effective communication with those members of their community who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Town has been cooperative throughout this investigation. The decision to agree to the terms of the settlement reflects the Town’s strong commitment to both protect public safety and to uphold individuals’ civil rights.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that “public entities,” including local governments and police departments, ensure effective communication with qualified individuals with disabilities. Under this agreement, a person who is deaf or hard of hearing will be able to benefit from the same services as every other person.
The agreement requires that the Wallingford Police Department:
- Ensure its policies and practices are nondiscriminatory, and provide effective communication for people with communication disabilities, including the provision of sign language interpreters;
- Post a notice of the policy in public areas;
- Train staff on the policies; and
- Ensure that appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters and specifically tactile interpreters, are made available to all individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of discrimination can file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TDD).
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ndidi N. Moses and Michelle McConaghy, with the assistance of the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.