RPD hopes to improve communication with cards for people who are deaf or hard of hearing Submitted: 05/07/2018
Story By Allie Herrera

RPD hopes to improve communication with cards for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
RHINELANDER - Rhinelander Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier remembers being a patrol officer and having a hard time getting some drivers to talk. 
"That's how we communicated," said Gauthier as he looked at a piece of paper. "[It] was through my notebook."

Gauthier would sometimes pull people over and realize they were deaf or hard of hearing. He saw how big of a problem it was. 

"You want that interaction to be quick, efficient, professional and hopefully a positive experience for the driver," said Gauthier. 

The communication visor cards come from the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

"I think it's a good thing it's here," said Caroline Ludka, a deaf and hard of hearing specialist with the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

Ludka works in southeastern Wisconsin and is hard of hearing herself.

"[Once], I actually had to remove my hearing aids and show the officer that yes I am an individual with a hearing loss," said Ludka. 

Ludka looked over the communication visor cards and made changes to improve it, which included adding an instruction sheet. 

Chief Gauthier says having this new tool will help people like Ludka have an easier time communicating with his officers. That's something he knows the value of. 

"You have the understanding of why you were stopped, what happens if you get stopped, what required information [are we] asking of you, and what's going to happen at the end of the traffic stop," said Gauthier. 

The Rhinelander Police Department has added communication cards to each squad car. There are also free cards in the lobby for anyone to take. 
Click here for more information on the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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