In November 2019, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with Bergen Community College to launch a new initiative for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This unique collaborative partnership aims to bridge the communication gap between law enforcement and individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Together staff from BCC and the BCSO created a communication card that will allow Sheriff’s Officers to non-verbally communicate during a traffic stop. The card offers quick tips to help facilitate an interaction and action icons that allow an officer to proceed through a stop.

The card offers quick tips to facilitate an interaction, including but not limited to:

  • “Get my attention first,”
  • “Make eye contact when you speak” and
  • “I cannot lip-read everything you say.“

Icons on the card indicate the best form of communication so the individual who is deaf or hard-of-hearing can point to either “Interpreter,” “Texting,” “Writing,” “Lip-reading,” “No lip-read” or “Assistive listening device.”

The second side of the card allows for an officer to point to an image of either a driver’s license, insurance card, or a vehicle registration card to indicate what the officer needs to see. The card also lists a variety of icons that describe what the person’s violation is, including, but not limited to, a speed limit sign, a stop sign, a cell phone indicating use while driving, and a seat belt.