New App To Reduce Barriers Between Deaf Community And Police

a San Francisco Police Department officer is seen holding his phone and interacting with a sign language interpreter through the app in order to provide better communication to deaf community members.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is planning to roll out a new app to its police officers that will help them communicate more effectively with deaf victims, witnesses or perpetuators of crime. The Police Commission will soon vote on a new policy that intends to improve communication between police and deaf community members.

Through this new policy, the SFPD is planning to give police officers access to a video chatting app on their phones that will connect them to a sign language interpreter, bring them on to a crime scene directly. Through the app and remote SLI, it is expected that the deaf person involved in the scene will be able to provide quick and accurate information to the officer. Some may argue that writing can be an alternative to bringing a SLI in real time. However, since writing is not a deaf person’s first language, it is critical for them to sign in order to express the intensity, and seriousness of the situation they are in or threat they are facing.

Language Line Solutions

This new technology is being proposed after deaf people filed several complaints expressing dissatisfaction at the way police officers handled communication. The “Language Line Solutions” app has already been piloted with a few officers at Ingleside Station and Mission Station and if the commission passes the policy, this app will be rolled out to all officers within 120 days.

There are other police departments too working on reducing barriers and making communication between police and deaf community easier. A little more than an year ago, for instance, the State of Minnesota launched a texting service to 911 for deaf people.

We already know remote sign language interpreters are being used in classrooms. Where else do you think bringing in a sign language interpreter will be helpful? If you are outside of the United States, do you think this type of technology can be easily implemented? if not, what are some of the barriers you see? Let us know in the comments below!

Source:San Francisco Examiner

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