Jefferson Co. deputies learn about the deaf community

Deputies in Jefferson County received training on how to interact with the deaf community Tuesday. Credit: KMOV

Deputies at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department are going through mandatory training this week.Jefferson County Capt. Gary Higginbotham told News 4, "To better enhance our communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing."The Webster Groves organization, DEAF, Inc. is conducting the training for deputies.Executive director Thomas Horejes, Ph.D. said, "Just like with anyone in the community at-large, there's a general fear of interacting with police officers for fear of misunderstanding. If a person is also deaf, that fear is intensified."Horejes said if someone is failing to follow an officers orders, it might be because they're deaf and don't understand the instructions instead of being a person who is resisting arrest. Another lesson that officers learned is that they shouldn't be alarmed or feel threatened if someone who is deaf or hard of hearing seems overly animated."For many deaf people there's no tone of voice, their tone of voice is through their hands and facial expression. And often times that's something that, people who are able to hear, hearing people, including officers are not used to," said Horejes. Officers also learned when they're required by law to call in a professional interpreter and when they're not. The training is required for all commissioned officers at the sheriff's department.

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