First responders and educators from the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) worked together to facilitate communication in emergency situations. From left are Noah Brock, Environmental Rural Area Clean-up Enforcement (ERACE) detective; Jack Goins, ERACE detective; Eugenio Mejia, Hualapai Mountain park ranger; Timothy King, battalion chief of Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District; Rusty Cooper, deputy police chief for the Kingman Police Department; Beca Bailey, community engagement liaison for ACDHH; Kim Minard, deaf specialist for ACDHH; Carmen Green Smith, deputy director for ACDHH; and Emmett Hassen, licensing and certification coordinator for ACDHH. (Photo: Charles Black/MCR)
KINGMAN — Law enforcement and first-response workers got a unique opportunity Thursday to build bridges between themselves and the deaf community.
About 20 people attended a seminar to learn effective ways to communicate with the deaf community. The event was hosted by the Kingman Police Department and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH).
“It’s a good way to introduce people to our community, culture and our language,” said Beca Bailey, the community engagement liaison for ACDHH.
“We do have a lot of differences, and it takes time and patience to break down those barriers and calm down the situation and effectively communicate. There has been some mistrust between public safety workers and the deaf community. We want to help eliminate that mistrust.”
The ACDHH, according to the organization’s website, is committed to expanding resources and identifying opportunities for improved quality of life. It provides outreach and educational opportunities throughout the state.
Members of ACDHH educated first responders on how to interact with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They described and demonstrated the use of auxiliary aids, such as interpreters, video remote interpreting, assisted listening devices, videophone, visual signaling devices, closed captioning and service animals.
Todd Davison, the chief of the Mohave County Parks Law Enforcement, brought all six members of his team to the training. He said it was an educational opportunity they haven’t had before.
“I thought it would be important because all of us have run across either hard-of-hearing or deaf in the community,” said Davison. “When I saw that there was an actual training coming here, I wanted to take advantage of it. Three of us are detectives and three are rangers. They have to deal with a lot of the initial contacts.”