The Long Island Advance published the following story.
By: STAFF WRITER
The Suffolk County Police Department has unveiled a new form that will improve communications between police officers and the deaf community. The deaf visor card can be used to immediately alert an officer that a person is deaf or hard of hearing.
Mill Neck Interpreter Service approached deputy presiding officer Rob Calarco to help make it widely accessible in Suffolk County. Calarco worked with the Suffolk County Police Department to adopt the card for Suffolk.
The deaf visor card will indicate to officers how to best communicate with a deaf person and practices they should avoid in order to prevent confusion. The card also gives the officer the opportunity to immediately indicate why the person is being stopped, what documents they should provide, and if the person is being arrested or ticketed.
“We are always looking for ways to improve communication between Suffolk County’s Police Department and our residents,” said Calarco. “The deaf community deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and the deaf visor card will help achieve that.”
The card expands on the Language Access law that was passed by the Suffolk County Legislature in 2018. The law requires that Suffolk County documents be translated into the six most-common non-English languages spoken in the county. The card will also be available in Spanish, Chinese, Polish and Haitian Creole.
“This is a natural extension of the Language Access law that we passed last year,” added Calarco. “Our goal is to make Suffolk County as accessible as possible to all of our residents. Whether that means having vital forms printed in another language or making interactions with police officers more comfortable, this is what we are working toward.”
The deaf visor card will be available on the Suffolk County Police Department website for anyone to print from home. It will also be made available at Suffolk County Police precincts and Legis. Calarco’s district office in Patchogue.