10,000 Visor Cards for 10,000 Patrol Cars

Contact: Vicki Levengood 517-241-7978
Agency: Civil Rights

August 25, 2016

LANSING — Today the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing (the Division) will begin distribution of 10,000 visor cards for use in police patrol cars throughout Michigan.  The cards are specifically designed to ensure safe and effective communication between law enforcement and drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Division announced the plan at a press briefing at the Ingham County Sheriff’s office in Mason Michigan, and began the distribution by supplying hundreds of cards to police agencies participating in the event, including the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department, the East Lansing Police Department, and the Michigan State Police.

“This distribution of 10,000 communication visor cards to 10,000 patrol vehicles is the first of what I hope will be many collaborative efforts between the Division and law enforcement to ensure effective communication between police and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Annie Urasky, Director of MDCR’s Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. “The visor card is just one tool, but it is an important start in helping ensure the safety of both drivers and police officers and limit misunderstandings. We are also working with various law enforcement agencies on training opportunities to enhance the understanding of how different levels of law enforcement may safely interact with Michiganders who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing in emergency situations.”

The visor card communication tool is endorsed by prominent statewide law enforcement organizations including Michigan State Police, Michigan Sheriff’s Association, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, and Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES).

“Since we first created the visor card, the response from law enforcement has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Agustin Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “They immediately recognized its utility in easing communication with individuals who may not be able to hear their questions or instructions. It was their response that prompted the Department of Civil Rights to make the decision to equip as many patrol cars as possible with this simple but effective tool.”

The card was created as a resource for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to have at the ready when they interact with law enforcement officers, and the Division provides the cards free of charge to any deaf or hard of hearing individual who requests one. 

The card is available online. It was specifically designed to print on a standard 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper and fold in half, and can be downloaded from the Division’s website at www.michigan.gov/doddbhh. The card also can be saved to an iPhone screen, giving users access to the card with one tap. Android users can save the card to their phone’s files storage app for quick access.

Individuals also can contact the Division directly and request to have a card mailed to them. To request a card by mail, send an email to DODDBHH@michigan.gov with the words “Visor Card” in the subject line and full name and address in the body of the email. Individuals can also call the Division directly to request a card, at 313-437-7035.

“As the Sheriff of a county with a large and diverse population, our officers encounter communications roadblocks on a regular basis,” said Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth. “This tool will help us make sure our officers are understood, and help us provide the kind of service that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing deserve.”

For a high resolution jpeg of the visor card, go to http://www.michigan.gov/images/mdcr/visor_card_graphic_533022_7.jpg.

 

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