Originally published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 07:30p.m.

KINGMAN – Deputy Chief Rusty Cooper does not know what to expect from the training, but he is excited to take it. The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will teach Kingman officers how to approach deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind citizens.

The training will take place from 9-11 a.m. Monday, May 30 at the Kingman Police Department, 2730 E. Andy Devine Ave.

Deputy Chief Cooper recalls several instances when his officers reported problems approaching and communicating with deaf residents. He personally witnessed one such incident, very frustrating to all parties involved.

“Within the last six months, there was a man coming to our lobby, and we were not able to help him,” Cooper said. “He didn’t speak, read or write. He didn’t know sign language either. He left frustrated. Finally, after having compared our interactions with him, we were able to piece his story together and direct him to another agency that he was, in fact, looking for.”

The commission’s Deputy Director Carmen Green Smith said her organization has trained already 3,000 officers in the Phoenix area. But police departments are not the only agencies the commission is working with.

“Since our inception in 1977, we’ve trained first responders, hospitals and doctor’s offices,” she said. “We also license sign language interpreters and serve as a center for advocacy and referral.”

The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers free training to public safety personnel across the state of Arizona to provide communication access, community empowerment and education.

Members of other agencies are welcome to attend.