Calgary, AB,

App connects CPS officers with American Sign Language interpreters

We have partnered with Deaf & Hear Alberta (DHA) to provide Calgary Police Service members with access to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in real time, through a mobile app.

The Calgary Police Service now has access to DHA’s Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) On Demand service. The service connects Deaf and hard-of-hearing Albertans with an ASL interpreter in real time, within 30 seconds.

Access to VRI by DHA On Demand will significantly cut down the wait times CPS members experience when they encounter Calgarians who use ASL to communicate. As soon as a person indicates they are an ASL user, officers will be able to immediately connect with a qualified ASL interpreter onscreen, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I am so proud of the work that our Diversity Resource Team and the CPS Persons with Disability Advisory Board do every day in support of our community,” says Beverly Voros, Acting Superintendent, Strategic Planning and Partnerships Division, Calgary Police Service. “VRI On Demand will significantly decrease the wait times for our community members and ensure that people in Calgary who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing receive the timely and inclusive service they need. Thank you to our community partners, advisory board members and Diversity Resource Team for their dedication to making the VRI On Demand a reality here in Calgary.” 

“I am excited to see the action that has resulted from DHA’s work with the CPS Persons with Disability Advisory Board! Now, there is a tool in the hands of officers to build the relationship and connection with Deaf and hard-of-hearing Calgarians. It is all about communication access,” says Angela Flaman, DHA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant.

Previously, officers who required an ASL interpreter would put in a request for an interpreter to attend a scene. DHA would then contact a list of available ASL interpreters and dispatch someone to the officer’s location. On average, the time to get an interpreter on scene could be between two and four hours.

Over the past two years, the in-person interpretation service was used by the CPS five times. We know that being inclusive and providing equitable communication is a key driver for us in connecting with Calgarians. VRI by DHA On Demand is another step forward.