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Friday, November 17 Local

Connecticut relaunches program for deaf, hard of hearing

TRUMBULL — Several agencies have relaunched a program to assist deaf and hard of hearing drivers in Connecticut, according to Trumbull police.

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and Connecticut Council on Organizations Serving the Deaf restarted the Green Envelope Program this month.

The envelopes can be found a many police departments across the state, Trumbull police said.

This program was implemented in December 2005, according to a Greenwich police press release. It was created to assist deaf and hard of hearing drivers to communicate more efficiently with police officers.

The large envelope instructs drivers to place their driver’s license, current auto insurance card and DMV auto registration inside. Drivers are encouraged to keep the envelope above the driver’s side sun visor. The three necessary items can be placed in the envelope prior to driving or during a traffic stop.

The envelope provides both the drivers and the police officers with basic information on how to interact.

If a deaf or hard of hearing person is stopped by a police officer, the tips on the envelope encourage them to keep their hands on the steering wheel until an officer approaches. When the officer arrives, the driver should point to their ear and shake their head “no” to indicate to the officer that they cannot hear. They’re then instructed to slowly hand the envelope to the police officer.

When the officer receives the envelope, he or she will have their own set of tips and instructions.

The officer is instructed to speak directly to the driver, ensuring that the driver can clearly see their mouth to read their lips. Officers are encouraged not to raise their voice and not to overly enunciate.

And, among several other tips, officers are instructed to contact a state-registered sign language interpreter if necessary. According to the envelope, family members or friends are not considered valid interpreters.

Tara O'Neill|Breaking News Reporter

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