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Effective Communication Denied by Denver and Jefferson County Sheriffs

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Jordan v. Shrader, 18-cv-1225-MSK-NYW

Issues

CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program filed suit against the Sheriff for the City and County of Denver, the City and County of Denver, and the Sheriff for Jefferson County, on May 18, 2018.

The lawsuit alleges a failure of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Denver Sheriff’s Office, and the City & County of Denver to provide sign language interpreters for individuals who are deaf and who communicate with American Sign Language.

The United States Department of Justice has issued guidance on issues pertaining to the duties of law enforcement agencies.

SeeCommonly Ask Questions About the Americans with Disabilities Act and Law Enforcement,” available online at https://www.ada.gov/q%26a_law.htm (last visited Oct. 3, 2019):

V. Modifications of Policies, Practices, and Procedures. 23. Q. What types of modifications in law enforcement policies, practices, and procedures does the ADA require?
A. The ADA requires law enforcement agencies to make reasonable modifications in their policies, practices, and procedures that are necessary to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities, unless making such modifications would fundamentally alter the program or service involved. There are many ways in which a police or sheriff’s department might need to modify its normal practices to accommodate a person with the disability.

Example: A department modifies its regular practice of handcuffing arrestees behind their backs, and instead handcuffs deaf individuals in front in order for the person to sign or write notes.

Other guidance by the DOJ includes:

Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing ADA Guide for Law Enforcement Officers” (https://www.ada.gov/lawenfcomm.htm, last visited October 3, 2019).

Model Policy for Law Enforcement on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing” (https://www.ada.gov/lawenfmodpolicy.htm, last visited October 3, 2019).

The ADA Title II regulations (pertaining to public entities like law enforcement agencies) regarding “Communications,” 28 C.F.R. § 35.160, can be found on the ada.gov website. The specific regulations are found at https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm#subparte.

All of the information needed for law enforcement agencies to comply with the ADA is readily accessible at these and other websites on the Internet.

There have been many lawsuits like this one alleging law enforcement agencies like the Sheriff of Jefferson County, Colorado and the Sheriff of Denver County, Colorado and the City and County of Denver continue to ignore these regulations and DOJ guidance. Both of the entities involved in this case have been sued for very similar alleged violations prior to this case. For information pertaining to the previous Jefferson County Sheriff lawsuit brought by the CCDC Civil bRights Legal Program, that information is available on this website at http://www.ccdconline.org/cases/jefferson-county-sheriff-ted-mink/.

Status

See documents below.

Available Document


Media Coverage


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