GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WSAV) – A local police department is making sure its officers are able to safely communicate with drivers who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
The Garden City Police Department created a visor communication card system so drivers who may not be able to communicate verbally can still be treated fairly during a traffic stop.
“It works both ways. Awareness for our officers and awareness for our community to help bridge those communication gaps for better relationships,” said Garden City Police Chief Gilbert Ballard.
Chief Ballard tells News 3 awareness is the key to breaking communication barriers in the community he serves.
“We are committed to building relationships with our community and although very rare, we do have those community members that are deaf. You will run into sometimes those that are hard of hearing and we want to make sure we’re able to bridge those gaps any way we can and we came up with a plan that we thought would break those barriers,” said Ballard.
If a person who happens to be deaf of hard of hearing gets pulled over by a Garden City Police Officer, the new visor cards will help the officer and the driver communicate effectively throughout the traffic stop.
“It lets our officers know that should it go beyond a standard contact, that there are certain Americans with Disability Act Requirements that our officers are also aware of. If it involves an arrest it also requires an interpreter and thus we are prepared for that,” said Ballard.
Ballard hopes the visor cards can easily avoid a potential miscommunication.
“Anytime you can avoid a bad situation or miscommunication, it is a win-win. Again, that’s where the awareness comes in and I hope this helps with that,” Ballard.
The visor communication cards can be printed off the Garden City Police Department’s website or can be picked up in person at City Hall.