The Savannah Police Department is now offering communication cards to deaf or hard of hearing individuals to improve and help facilitate communication with officers.
SPD understands that interactions between officers and members of these communities may be difficult due to barriers in communication, especially during a traffic stop. The purpose of these cards, which are double-sided, is to inform the officer on the best way to communicate with the citizen and inform the citizen of the reason for the traffic stop.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve communication with the citizens we serve,” said Chief of Police Roy Minter. “When we came across this idea, we knew we had to offer it to our community as well. Our hope is that these cards will help build stronger relationships with members of the deaf or hard of hearing community.”
The front side of the card offers ways in which the officer can communicate with the citizen, which may include pen and paper or simply the officer talking slow enough so the individual may read their lips. The back side of the card contains photos and words that indicate the reason for the traffic stop, which includes speeding, seat belt violations, cell phone usage, not stopping at a stop sign and more.
The back of the card also includes a section where the officer can point and indicate that they need the citizen’s driver’s license and registration/insurance information. It further gives officers the option to show the individual whether they are being warned, ticketed or arrested.
Citizens who choose to utilize the cards are advised to keep this card in close proximity to them while driving. Options may include the visor section or center console of their car. These cards have been distributed to the Traffic Unit to hand out if they encounter a deaf or hard of hearing individual. They are also available to citizens at the front desk of headquarters and at each precinct.
SPD Headquarters: 201 Habersham Street – (912) 652-6500 Option #1; Northwest Precinct: 102 E. Lathrop Avenue – (912) 651- 6990; Southside Precinct: 7804 Abercorn Street, Suite 118 – (912) 351-3400; Eastside Precinct: 2250 E. Victory Drive – (912) 898-3252; Central Precinct: 1710 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd – (912) 651-6931.