SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Police Department is working to better communicate with all of those they serve. They introduced a new tool Friday that will help when they are working with those in our community who are deaf or have hearing loss.
If you’re expecting a gadget or something crazy, guess again. It’s a simple two-sided piece of paper that officers say will make a big difference, especially as they work with the deaf and hearing impaired community.
Officers say prior to having the communication cards they’d have to use a notebook when working with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. But now, thanks to the card officers can specialize their conversation and truly communicate clearly with those they encounter.
The cards on the front allow community members to explain how they communicate best like with an assisted listening device or by sign language in addition to asking the officer to do certain things that could help the person understand the officer like asking them to speak slowly or for light to help read the officers lips.
The communication card also allows officers to clarify what they need from the individual who may be deaf or hard of hearing. The card outlines reasons they may have been stopped, what documents are needed and if they are being ticketed or not.
Savannah Police Department got the idea from another department and knew they wanted to bring the cards here as they feel it will truly help them work better with the community they serve.
“Having these cards having these readily accessible and having those pointers for us is going to be a huge game changer,” said SPD Neighborhood Resource Officer Samantha Heard. “I mean everybody wants to communicate better with everyone that they come across so this will be a huge game changer for us as police officers to be able to interact with those that are just a little bit different than we are.”
Officers say they are excited to put these cards to use. Patrol officers will have them in their cars, but you can also pick them up if you or someone you know could benefit from them. The cards will be available for free at each SPD precincts and their headquarters downtown.