Help Kids Hear – A web site dedicated to helping parents of children that are deaf or hard of hearing.  The latest news, resources, articles, and discussions about hearing impaired children!
About Help Kids Hear Site Map Search Help Kids Hear Web Site News
A site for parents of hard of hearing & deaf children.
In the News - News articles about hearing impairment, new technologies, and other related materials.
Articles & Commentary - Our editorial section. Articles written by us and by professionals in the field.
Resources & Information - Our largest section. Dedicated to helping you find the information you need. Everything from educational information, sources financial support, mental health support and more!
Facts & Figures - A brief "stat sheet" with information about just how common hearing impairment is, particularly in children.
Discussion Forum - What we hope will be hallmark of our site. An open forum where you can read and post questions about hearing impairment across a wide variety of categories.
For the Kids - Links to and information just for the kids themselves.

Deaf, police to discuss hiring interpreters

The Wichita Eagle

Members of the local deaf community are requesting that the Wichita Police Department budget money to hire state-certified sign language interpreters.

The Police Department's recent recruiting effort for volunteer interpreters who may or may not be certified upset members of the deaf community.

"Volunteers usually are not certified interpreters or state-qualified interpreters," said Shane Dundas, chairman of the community relations committee for the Wichita Association of the Deaf. "There must be certified, qualified interpreters."

Police officials and advocates for the deaf will meet this weekend to air grievances and find common ground as the Police Department tries to address its need for interpreters.

"This is a good-faith effort to enhance and improve our ability to communicate with them," said Wichita police Capt. Darren Moore, training bureau commander.

Jeanne Goodvin, the city's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, and Wichita City Council member Carl Brewer are also expected to attend.

The Police Department has one officer who qualifies as a sign language interpreter, according to department standards.

Moore said the Police Department has previously hired translators for court sessions or when conducting interviews.

"We're never going to jeopardize a serious investigation based on the qualifications of an interpreter," he said.

The department would use volunteer interpreters for routine traffic stops, for example. The Police Department has not finalized policies concerning volunteer interpreters.

The deaf community wants the department to budget $5,000 for certified interpreters to perform such services.

"I think the problem is, with a volunteer, they have no way to gauge their competency," said Debbie McCann, co-owner of Sign Language Interpreting Services, a Wichita company founded in 2000.

The company used to interpret for the Police Department but "payment became an issue," McCann said.

The organization, which has about 15 state-certified interpreters, generally charges $32.50 per hour, and more for evenings and weekends, according to McCann.

By comparison, Interpreting Solutions LLC in the Kansas City metro area charges a flat rate of $35 per hour with a two-hour minimum for its certified interpreting services.

A Kansas statute requires the Topeka-based Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to certify or register all interpreters for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired.

"If you were vacationing in China and you needed an emergency surgery to remove your appendix, would you be comfortable with a volunteer doctor or a doctor who passed the medical exams and completed his or her residency?" said commission executive director Rebecca Rosenthal.

The organization strongly recommends that civic and governmental agencies hire certified interpreters to ensure effective communication and protect the safety of all those involved, Rosenthal said.

Members of the deaf community and the police department said they are looking forward to a productive meeting.

"We are trying to be more sensitive to their needs," Moore said.



What: Members of Wichita's deaf community will meet with city and police officials to discuss interpreters.

Where: Wichita Association of the Deaf, 1646 E. Central

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

How much: Free

© 2005 The Witchita Eagle



Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at