New communication card helps Minnesotans who are deaf and hard of hearing and police officers
The Minnesota Department of Human Service’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD), has a new communication card to help law enforcement (police, state patrol and sheriff) and people with hearing loss communicate better during traffic stops.
DHHSD worked with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop the communication card. DHHSD thanks all the Minnesotans who are deaf and hard of hearing who helped decide what pictures to use on the communication card.
Important message for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
If you are pulled over by law enforcement, remember:
Stay in your vehicle and
Keep your hands on your steering wheel.
When law enforcement gets to your window, tell them that you are deaf or hard of hearing (voice this or gesture this).
Tip! If you have the small wallet sized “I am Deaf” or “I am hard of hearing” identification card, place it behind your driver’s license in your wallet or billfold.
Don’t reach for the communication card. Tell the law enforcement personnel that you are getting this communication card, and then hand over both the driver’s license and the I am Deaf/Hard of Hearing card when asked. Why? They may think you are reaching for a gun or another weapon! We want you and law enforcement to stay safe.
Suggested ways to use this communication card
Keep this communication card in your glove compartment or center console of your car. (You may want to keep it with your Proof of Insurance card.)
Point to the glove compartment or center console to show that you need to get the card. (Or voice this.)
Make sure the law enforcement understands you before reaching for the card.
Wait for law enforcement to give you permission to get the communication card.
You (and law enforcement) can use the card to point to pictures that help with communication.
Pictures to show the best way to communicate with you.
Pictures to explain what problem you have, (such as a flat tire, you are lost, have run out of gas, or need a tow).
Pictures explain what information law enforcement needs, what you did wrong (were speeding, ran a red light, etc.), and what will happen as a next step, such as a warning, ticket or possible arrest.
How to get a communication card:
People who want a paper or electronic copy of the communication card should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651/431-5940 Voice or 651/964-1514 Video Phone. DHHSD staff will need 1) your name, 2) mailing address and 3) the name of the county where you live.
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