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Pueblo County Sheriff and Pueblo County Police Department

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Citation

Owen et al. v. Taylor et al., 13-cv-01860-RM

Issues

CCDC, Colorado Association of the Deaf, Michaelee Owen and his mom, Jeanine Roybal, filed suit against these law enforcement agencies, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504. The lawsuit alleges a failure to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to deaf individuals during arrest, booking and incarceration. The suit alleges defendants failed to provide sign language interpreters as required during arrest, questioning, booking, medical intake and screening, disciplinary hearings, and medical procedures. Michaelee Owen, who is deaf, was detained from May 5, 2012 until October 30, 2012 without ever once being offered or provided a sign language interpreter. The Pueblo County Sheriff routinely denied him access to a TTY on terms that were as effective as those provided to hearing inmates.

Status

Plainitiffs CCDC, the Colorado Association of the Deaf, Michaelee Owen, and Jeanine Roybal reached a settlement agreement with the Pueblo Police Department on February 18, 2014. This agreement requires significant changes in police policies that will ensure the police provide effective communication to individuals who are deaf who are arrested, questioned, detained, or who are witnesses. The agreement was fashioned on a settlement agreement we reached earlier with the Englewood Police Department. That agreement was drafted by the United States Department of Justice who also signed onto the agreement. Examples of what is required include the following: (1) determining if an individual who is deaf wants an interpreter using a simplied form, (2) ensuring access to TTYs and other necessary telecomunication devices, and (3) designate an ADA coordinator to receive compaints and administer these policies. All of these changes are required by the ADA. See the Settlement Agreement and Policies below.

Plainitiffs CCDC, the Colorado Association of the Deaf, Michaelee Owen, and Jeanine Roybal reached a settlement agreement with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office on February 20, 2014. This agreement requires significant changes in the Sheriff’s policies that will ensure the Sheriff provides effective communication to individuals who are deaf who are brought to the Pueblo County Jail. The agreement requires that the Sheriff offer sign language interpreters during the initial intake process, medical inquiries, for programs in the jail including work programs, and access to telecommunication devices. The agreement was fashioned on a settlement agreement we reached earlier with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. That agreement was drafted by the United States Department of Justice who also signed onto the agreement. Examples of what is required include the following: (1) determining if an individual who is deaf wants an interpreter using a simplied form, (2) ensuring access to TTYs and other necessary telecomunication devices, and (3) designate an ADA coordinator to receive compaints and administer these policies. All of these changes are required by the ADA. Prior to filing this lawsuit, CCDC sent an Opens Records Act request to all County Sheriff Offices requesting the policies related to providing services to the deaf. Pueblo County Sheriff’s response showed they provided little to no auxiliary aids and services to individuals who are deaf. The settlement agreement and policies are posted below.

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