A new pilot program in the Town of Amherst will allow police to communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing residents via video remote sign language interpreters, according to an article on the WBFO/NPR website.

Deaf Access Services, a Buffalo-based nonprofit, is providing the services via an app that resembles FaceTime. WBFO reports that two patrol supervisors will have access to the device, which can be delivered to an officer in the field, and a tablet with the app will remain at the police station for walk-ins.

Previously, Amherst police used visor cards or pen and paper to communicate with hearing impaired residents, or relied on family members to interpret.

“This gives the ability to build a good bridge between gaps we have had for years and that building is now coming together,” said Deaf Access Services Community Engagement Specialist David Wantuck, who was quoted in the article. “We hope to see that all across Erie County and with all the other police and emergency response teams. This is already a stepping stone.”

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Source: WBFO/NPR