H.B. 2-205 Sign Language for Law Enforcement

    Youth in Government is here and so are the 2017 bills for this year’s program! Students from all over the state, join together in the Denver capitol to discuss bills and have an opportunity to get their voice heard. Inevitably these bills are judged from a range of different standpoints and perspectives.

Today, I interviewed two lobbyists and was able to learn about their thoughts and ideas towards bills presented in the 2017 bill book. Although only a few lobbyists were interviewed, I still gained insight on today’s youth beliefs.

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    Lobbyist Rachelle Brozek couldn’t help but recognize bill 2-205. Bill 2-205 is “an act to require all law enforcement officers to learn certain signs in American sign language.” Naturally I asked how she felt towards this bill and whether or not she would support this bill for passing. “I find this bill to be very beneficial to those with hearing disabilities. It gives them a chance to communicate in needs of emergency or conflict overall. This bill also implements safety for both an officer and citizens.” Ms. Brozek recommends to expand law enforcement officers’ knowledge rather than only communicating with twelve signs. The signs are as follows:

  1. You are under arrest
  2. Stop
  3. Wait
  4. License and Registration
  5. Drugs
  6. Smoking
  7. Drinking
  8. Help
  9. Speeding
  10. Calm down
  11. Are you deaf or hard of hearing?
  12. Do you need a notepad or interpreter?

    After reviewing this bill, I realized I agree with Lobbyist Rachelle Brozek. Twelve signs may not be enough to communicate efficiently and ensure safety for the citizen. What will happen after the officer says “stop” but he/she replies with a response the officer won’t be able to communicate back to?

According to www.lifeprint.com, law enforcement officers already carry equipment that can help with communication with deaf people. This can be telecommunication devices for the deaf of a contact list of people who know sign language. Although some law enforcement agencies already have some form of communication, not all do.There are also a variety of emergencies that cannot be categorized in this list. Whether it’s a fire, a robbery, or a shooting. If a person will make the effort to learn sign language, they might as well learn it well.

    Lobbyist Kevin Hernandez also states, “This bill was already passed and I thought it was a smart idea. If this bill wouldn’t haven’t passed it would’ve excluded disabled people. The jobs of the representatives is to pass bills that are going to help people and this bill is doing exactly that.”

    www.leadwithlanguages.org states, “When emergency strikes, immediate and effective communication is key: a crisis is no time to stop for translation.” This is another concept that I nor most people have thought of. This highlights the importance and urgency some conflicts have and like Lobbyists Rachelle and Kevin, are for this bill.

    Both Lobbyists Rachelle Brozek and Kevin Hernandez agreed and supported this bill’s passing. They were both content with the end result and were able to advocate for their beliefs which is ultimately what Youth in Government is about.