Calgary Police Service officers will be getting an extra hand when they communicate with Calgarians who primarily use American Sign Language (ASL).
Wednesday, the CPS announced it is partnering with Deaf and Hear Alberta (DHA) to provide officers with ASL interpreters through a mobile app. DHA’s Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) On Demand service will connect deaf and hard-of-hearing Albertans with an ASL interpreter within 30 seconds.
“VRI On Demand will significantly decrease the wait times for our community members and ensure that people in Calgary who are deaf or hard-of-hearing receive the timely and inclusive service they need,” A/Supt. Beverly Voros said in a statement.
Previously, officers would have to request an ASL interpreter and wait for one to arrive on the scene – a process that would take an average of two to four hours.
“I am excited to see the action that has resulted from DHA’s work with the CPS Persons with Disability Advisory Board,” said Angela Flaman, DHA’s equity, diversity and inclusion consultant. “Now, there is a tool in the hands of officers to build the relationship and connection with Deaf and hard-of-hearing Calgarians.
“It is all about communication access.”
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In-person interpretation was used by CPS officers only a handful of times in the past two years and in a statement, the police service acknowledged that “providing equitable communication is a key driver for us in connecting with Calgarians.”
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