Bentonville Police Now Using Placard To Communicate With Deaf Drivers

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- Bentonville police are working with the Arkansas chapter of We the Deaf People to find new ways to bridge the communication gap.

They've collaborated and come up with a placard to help police and deaf drivers communicate more efficiently.

Whether an officer is working an accident or pulling someone over, if the driver hands them the placard, they automatically know they're interacting with a deaf driver.

Police and organization members picked symbols that are universally known, so the placard is easy to understand and can be used when traveling.

The front of the placard says the word "DEAF", police suggest the driver hold it up to the window when an officer is approaching and then flip it over to use the symbols.

Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department said the first few minutes of a traffic stop is vital to officers.

"The officer wants to make sure he or she is getting the directions to that driver correctly and that their understanding them," Page said.

There is a "HELP" section that has symbols that indicate the driver needs gas, access to a hospital, a tire change or their car to be towed.

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The "Documents Needed" section will help the officer show the driver what steps are next in the traffic stop whether they need show their drivers license, registration or insurance.

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The "violations" include symbols so police can let the driver know why they've been pulled over.

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There's also a section for the driver to show the officer how they prefer to communicate, like writing, lip reading or saying they need an interpreter.

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Page said this is an ongoing project for the department and they hope to share this with other police departments in the area.

Contact Allanah Rodriguez, Director of We the Deaf People, at ARodriguez@wtdp.org to receive a placard.