The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has partnered with Deaf Services to enhance communication between police officers and the Deaf community.
Constable Latisha Whalan (pictured), who is currently working at Project Booyah within the Community Engagement Group jumped at the opportunity to teach officers and the general public commonly used Auslan signs in an emergency.
Constable Whalan was fortunate to grow up with Auslan as a natural form of communication in her family.
“I have three deaf cousins who have embraced me and taught me how to sign,” Constable Whalan said.
“As a family, we can all sign basic sign language and it has proven very useful for various reasons.
“My cousins have proven to me that being deaf is definitely not a disadvantage in life.”
Communicating is a crucial role for police, and it is important for police to have a basic understanding of Auslan to help the deaf and hard of hearing community feel safe and comfortable.
Brett Casey, CEO of Deaf Services said the project was a step towards greater access and inclusion for Deaf Australian’s in times of crisis.
“At Deaf Services, we want our community to feel safe and be confident when communicating with police, especially when asking for assistance,” Mr Casey said.
“This video with Constable Whalan is part of a larger Deaf Services project that began with Queensland Ambulance Service and aims to eventually involve all Queensland Emergency Services.
“By normalising the use of Auslan in emergency situations such as interactions with police officers, we can work to break down communication barriers, and hopefully encourage individuals and organisations to understand the importance and benefits of being able to communicate.
“This, coupled with the regular use of accredited Auslan interpreters will ensure the Deaf community feels secure when interacting with members of our emergency services.
“Many thanks to Queensland Police Service for helping us to achieve this.”
Constable Whalan said she was honoured when asked to take part in this amazing community initiative.
“I love that I can be a part of breaking a stigma for both the Deaf community and also Queensland police officers through education,” Constable Whalan said.
For more information on Deaf Services, visit https://www.deafservices.org.au/.