Deaf Rights Police Education

Our non-profit, Signing for Safety has a goal to raise enough money so that in October 2014, I will be able to travel by car from Washington State to Florida and I will interact with police departments across the country teaching law enforcement the basics of recognizing that someone is deaf or hard of hearing, American Sign Language (ASL), ADA laws & Deaf Culture. There is a desperate need to break down the communication barriers between Deaf/HH citizens & law enforcement.

There are hundreds of stories where the deaf community and law enforcement's interactions end unfavorably.

- 2012- Seattle Woman was tazed and jailed for over 60 hours with no interpreter or lawyer after calling 911 for help and being mistaken for the assaulter. ( (see video below)

- 2014- An elderly deaf Oklahoma man was beat by two highway patrol troopers for allegedly refusing to comply during a traffic stop. After issuing several vocal commands from their police vehicle, troopers claim Pearson refused to show his hands. Despite a large placard on his driver’s door stating, “Driver is deaf” (

- 2014- Four police officers in Hawthorne, California used a Taser on a man who was attempting to tell them that he was deaf via sign language. (

These instances did not happen because law enforcement is "bad" or because they don't care, it is because there is not enough, or most of the time, any training being done. I believe that each police department needs to have hands-on training to help them to identify someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. Police departments as well as the deaf community would benefit immensely from the police having a basic understanding of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. Please support us by donating anything you can or emailing us for other donations or ideas [email redacted]

Thank you,
Colleen Langdon
Tax ID # 603410565

Here is one story from Seattle: 

Here is a sensitivity video for police departments that shows some of the things they can look for and how to work with the deaf & hard of hearing. This is a great video but I believe there needs to be hands on training for a clearer understanding of ADA Laws and deaf culture. 

Meet my beautiful Golden Retriever, Maggie. She understands sign language and is training to become a service dog for the deaf & hard of hearing. She will be my partner in educating law enforcement across the country. 
Twitter: @luvsignlanguage
Facebook: Signing for Safety

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Colleen Langdon 
Marysville, WA
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