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“Police are doing training and then not having an interaction with a deaf person while they remember the training,” Hill said.

“People forget.”Cost can also be a barrier to departments’ ADA compliance.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the government has been required to provide “effective communication,” “reasonable accommodation,” and equal access to services for those with disabilities.

But almost 30 years later, law enforcement hasn’t always satisfied this mandate.

Stoughton told me that departments often build in limited time for training, and so they prioritize “high liability” areas, such as the use of force, firearms, driving, and first aid.According to a witness’s account, the situation escalated after the officer ordered Sanchez to drop the pipe and he did not comply.Exasperated neighbors shouted that he couldn’t hear the commands.Since 2005, uniformed officers in the Miami-Dade Police Department have completed a 40-hour crisis intervention training program, but a department representative told me it doesn’t include instruction on deaf and hard-of-hearing issues.Dietz, who handles cases of police discrimination, said that, like the police Engelman observed, “officers are really not aware of the fact that they’re supposed to get interpreters.”Eve Hill, the former director of the Justice Department’s Disability Rights Division, noted that deafness is a low-incidence disability.

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