Colorado Springs Police Department created a Signs of the Law pocket guide to improve interactions with citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Colorado Springs Police Department now has a Signs of the Law pocket guide designed to support CSPD’s efforts to increase effective communication between officers and citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center (RMADAC), a member of the National Network of ADA Centers created the guide.

“Our internal design and technical assistance team members are extremely proud to have partnered with the CSPD on this valuable tool which will assist in improving effective communications between officers and people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Dana Barton, Director of RMADAC.

The guide took less than three weeks to develop and was fully customized to CSPD’s specific needs. The content, photography and design was designed to be consistent with interactions CSPD has with the deaf and hard of hearing population.

In addition, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Fountain Police Department and the Monument Police Department are partnering with CSPD on the guide.

“Creating effective communication programs between our officers and all our citizens is critical to the work we do to serve Colorado Springs,” said CSPD Chief Vince Niski.

“CSPD deserves a great deal of credit for being the first department in the Rocky Mountain region to partner on a guide of this nature and we are hopeful other agencies in the region and across the U.S. will look to the department’s leadership and vision on this front and will consider having a guide like this developed by our team in the future,” said Barton.

Signs of the Law includes:

Complete American Sign Language (ASL) Alphabet with photos of people displaying each letter along with 30 ASL signs which encapsulate common interactions including:

  • License/ID?
  • Fast/Speeding
  • What happened?
  • Lawyer

9 Common Communication Tips for officers interacting with those who are deaf/hard of hearing including:

  • Get the person’s attention (tap on shoulder)
  • Look directly at the person while communicating
  • Speak in a normal and clear manner; no need to yell or exaggerate
  • Write down your thoughts if the message is not being received