I was the only Deaf ever to take classes at the Osceola County Sheriff's Academy, a program specifically designed for its citizens here in Florida. It's a good way to check it out to decide if a career in law enforcement is for you. We tour the Communication Center where 911 calls are taken. Yes, it's accessible to the Deaf that uses videophones (VP) and text messaging. A word of advice: If you uses a cell phone, leave your GPS on and stay where you are so that the emergency crews (police or fire) can locate you within minutes. Also be sure that your VRS providers has the correct addresses of where you live. Deaf often forget to update their VRS profile when they moved and it may be a matter of life or death if the dispatchers send them to wrong address. They are training eight new dispatchers this week and will hire more after adding new equipment.
This is Kaos, a German Shepherd, that takes commands in German as he was trained in Germany. K-9 are trained to locate bodies. He can smell a scent 1/4 mile. We discuss about their intelligence unit, discussions includes terrorism. Our classes are nine weeks. It requires background checks and an application to join the program, you will also need to sign a waiver to participate on the shooting range and to ride in a patrol car. Everyone in class is required to wear an uniform and a name-tag. There are two ASL interpreters. The class is free to anyone over age of 18 living in the county. Classes are three hours every Monday nights. Everything is hands on, not just lectures. Yes, the K-9 unit officers uses hand signals. Yes, there is an unit that deals with crimes against tourists. Officers will answer any questions you may have during the course. It was raining outside so the K-9 demonstration was held indoor. There was an interesting PowerPoint (PP) presentations on terrorism which describes the characteristic of terrorists from planning to dry runs. I think those PP ought to be printed as handouts. We had one incident here where an FBI shot and killed a suspect that is linked to the Boston bombing, so don't assume it'll never happen here.
Deafies behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War didn't have any access to the Voice of America (VOA), being isolated from what's happening around the world, except for what being feed to them on the state controlled media. VOA is still broadcasting nowadays, but it's interesting to note that they are captioning its videos, which allows foreigners to learn English as a second language. These two videos that I'm posting here are Deaf related, on language skills and educational technology. I think these videos from the Voice of America (VOA), with its English subtitles, is an excellent educational tool on various issues of importance, such as agriculture, economics, education, health, lifestyle, and technology, etc. I just recently watch one of their video on the "world population" subject and learned that India will soon surpassed China as the most populous nation on earth. Perhaps we should have "Signs of America" (SOA) segments, using Gestuno, on its programming list to reach out to the Deaf.
The Bellingham Police Department in the state of Washington is making an effort in its relationship with the Deaf community becoming more accessible, taking sensitivity training and breaking down barriers using the latest technology available and common sense with the tools given to them to assist in improving communication.