WASHINGTON — Police departments across the country have recently put extra emphasis on their community policing efforts, working to improve relations with the black community and other minority groups.
In the same way, in Washington, a special Metropolitan Police Department unit has been working for more than a decade to build trust with another local community.
The Metropolitan Police Department’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit is the only such unit in the country. The unit’s two officers — Myra Jordan and Tayna Ellis — both learned sign language outside MPD.
“We are on call 24 hours, seven days a week,” said Ellis.
“And it’s not work to us because it’s something we truly, truly enjoy doing,” Jordan said.
Jordan helped create the unit nearly 15 years ago. Since then, it’s become a major resource for the local deaf community.
Last year alone, the unit responded to more than 300 calls for service.
Shayninna McCoy, a specialist with the local advocacy group Deaf Reach, said, “The deaf community feels confident that their communication will be understood by the police.”
The Washington region is said to be home to the highest concentration of deaf people in the world. Many attend Gallaudet University then stay here for their careers.
Read More . . . MPDC Related Links:
Deaf & Hard Of Hearing Liaison Unit
Meet Officers Ellis and Jordan MPDS
Communication Rights Deaf or Hard of Hearing
NBC4 TV coverage Oct. 7th
NBC 4 Story & un-captioned Video