Anytime we are approached by someone in law enforcement it is important to remain respectful and compliant. There are very few times that your perception of rights outweighs your safety. The truth is that most law enforcement officers are there to help and not hurt. Understand that officers are often placed in dangerous situations and they have to protect themselves also. The best approach is always respectful one.
Effective Communication is a Civil Right Under the ADA Law
Truthfully, effective communication can be a difficult task to take on. Truly effective communication needs to be a two-way street. Many times, because we are human and have human emotions, we look at communication effectiveness from a singular self-understanding standpoint. That is only half of the communication process.
Ideally, we want to have effective communication from the beginning of an interaction from any law enforcement officer if at all possible. Depending on the situation, this may take a few moments for the officer to understand that they are interacting with someone who is Deaf.
What if Your Civil Rights are Violated
There are many ways to pursue and advocate a civil rights violation. Sometimes you may need a lawyer while others you may simply need to inform the agency of your rights. Because this can be a matter of legality, your best option may be to seek legal council. Then National Association for the Deaf website is full of resources to assist in this event. The link below has a letter that you can print out and give to an agency if you feel this is the best course of action.
The Bottom Line
Be respectful and submit to any reasonable request an officer makes. Let them know you need communication assistance. Know your rights.