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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rochester Police Department Reaches Settlement To Ensure Effective Communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan has reached an agreement with the Rochester Police Department under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), requiring the department to provide sign language interpreters and other aids and services to citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. The settlement resolves a complaint alleging that the police department failed to provide an individual in detention with a text or video capable telephone while he was in custody and failed to timely provide him with a sign language interpreter. The ADA requires that public entities, such as police departments, provide sign language interpreters and/or other appropriate auxiliary aids and services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Under the settlement, the police department agreed to update its policies and train its staff to ensure that citizens who are deaf are able to effectively communicate with police department personnel in the future. It will also ensure that it has a text or video capable telephone available for detainees who are deaf or hard of hearing. “Police departments need policies and training to ensure that they can communicate with anyone that they encounter, regardless of disability," McQuade said. “We applaud the Rochester Police Department for its willingness to update its policies and train its staff to enable effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. We hope that this case will improve awareness about the responsibility police departments have to ensure effective communication with all individuals." Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or the obligations of public entities under the ADA may call the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at 313-226-9151, or send an email to Information is also available at the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or at
Civil Rights
Updated February 4, 2016