Calgary, AB,

Communication tools available to connect CPS and the hearing loss community

Communication tools available to connect CPS and the hearing loss community

The Calgary Police Service and Deaf & Hear Alberta have partnered together to implement two ways to increase officer communication with the hearing loss community.

An estimated 40,000 Albertans are Deaf and approximately 1.2 million are hard of hearing. We recognize accessing visual information is extremely important in opening the lines of communication for those with hearing loss.

Deaf & Hear Alberta were instrumental in providing guidance for the success of these projects and worked closely with CPS over the last several months to implement the communication tools.

“We were eager to participate in these projects with the CPS and to be a part of the solution to opening up the channels of communication for the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing population,” says Alison Stutz, CEO of Deaf & Hear Alberta.

Traffic visor communication cards

Throughout the month of May, individual traffic visor communication cards were made available to frontline officers. The cards aim to provide commonly used icons and symbols that can assist the hard of hearing community in understanding the reason for a traffic stop and help determine what documentation the officer needs from the driver.

Officers and motorists can use the cards to communicate during a traffic stop by pointing to the symbols on the card, which are easily understood by both parties and help facilitate a conversation. On-scene interpreters are also accessible through a phone number listed on the card, connecting officers with Deaf & Hear Alberta.

Officers will carry the cards to assist them during interactions with citizens with hearing loss. The cards will be available to members of the hearing loss community at Deaf & Hear Alberta’s Calgary location.

Counter loop system

Recently, the CPS installed a counter loop at all front desk counters in district offices where members of the public are served.

The counter loop is a special sound system that accommodates individuals who are hard of hearing by using magnetic waves to amplify sounds directly to a person’s hearing aid when it is set to a specific ‘T’ setting. Counter loops are used to help drown out background noise and can be used at a distance, so space between counter staff and customers can be maintained.

The counter loop will also have accompanying signage placed at the front counter of district offices, inviting individuals needing assistance with the loop to inform the staff by pointing to the sign.

“The Edmonton Police Service has already implemented the traffic visor communication cards and has successfully been using them within their organization for the past two years. Thanks to the hard work of the EPS and their work with Deaf & Hear Alberta to create these cards, we now are able to offer the same service to Calgarians,” says A/Sgt. Dyana McElroy, Diversity Resource Team, CPS.

“We hope that by offering the traffic visor cards and counter loop communication tools to Calgarians, we are better equipped to serve anyone who might have had apprehensions about interacting with police and visiting district offices in the past.”

About Deaf & Hear Alberta

Deaf & Hear Alberta is a charity dedicated to addressing the accessibility and the communication needs of the Deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing citizens of Alberta. Deaf & Hear Alberta advocates for a proactive approach to ensure all information is accessible to all Albertans. Deaf & Hear Alberta works with governments and other partners like CPS to be part of the solution.