Through a new partnership, the Calgary Police Service will now be able to fully and efficiently communicate with Calgary’s hearing-impaired population.
The City of Calgary has joined forces with Deaf & Hear Alberta (DHA) to introduce a mobile app that provides Calgary Police Service (CPS) members with real-time access to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.
The hope is to provide seamless communication between CPS officers and individuals who rely on ASL to communicate.
Through DHA’s Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) On Demand service, CPS officers can now connect with ASL interpreters within a remarkable 30-second timeframe. This revolutionary solution caters to the needs of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Albertans, offering them immediate access to qualified interpreters around the clock.
By integrating VRI On Demand into their operations, CPS members will experience significantly reduced wait times when encountering individuals who utilize ASL.
As soon as someone indicates they are an ASL user, officers can instantly engage with a trained ASL interpreter through the app, ensuring timely and inclusive service provision at any hour of the day or night.
Beverly Voros, Acting Superintendent of the Strategic Planning and Partnerships Division at Calgary Police Service, expressed her pride in the ongoing efforts that made this collaboration happen.
“I am so proud of the work that our Diversity Resource Team and the CPS Persons with Disability Advisory Board do every day in support of our community,” she said.
“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.”
Prior to the introduction of this innovation, CPS officers had to request an ASL interpreter to attend a scene, resulting in potential delays of up to four hours. DHA would then contact available ASL interpreters and dispatch someone to the officer’s location.
However, over the past two years, this in-person interpretation service was only utilized by the CPS on five occasions.
Angela Flaman, DHA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, is looking to the future to see how this collaboration will help Calgarians.
“I am excited to see the action that has resulted from DHA’s work with the CPS Persons with Disability Advisory Board! Now, there is a tool in the hands of officers to build the relationship and connection with Deaf and hard-of-hearing Calgarians,” she said.
“It is all about communication access.”
Recognizing the importance of inclusivity and equitable communication, CPS has taken a major step forward with VRI by DHA On Demand. This technology-driven collaboration empowers officers to establish meaningful connections and foster stronger relationships with Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the Calgary community.