Ocala police hold first-ever town hall with deaf community (includes video story)

The Ocala Police Department addressed improvements in communication between officers and the deaf, hard-of-hearing community in a first-ever town hall meeting.

“These are important issues that they brought up,” says Mike Balken, cvhief of the Ocala Police Department. [The deaf community wanted to know] how to interact with our police department, how to remain safe while helping to keep police officers safe and how to act in a traffic scene — these are all important topics that all of us should be aware of.”

A resident said she was prepared during a traffic stop by having an indicator on her driver’s license saying she is deaf.

“When [the police officer] came back, he gave me my drivers license, my registration and my insurance,” says Ellen Faulkner, an Ocala resident. “He mouthed very carefully and slowly to have a nice day, and so obviously he figured I was deaf from my driver’s license.”

Cindy Claros is a senior majoring in Digital Media/Broadcasting Journalism. After graduation, she hopes to work in the entertainment industry and for shows such as "Good Morning America" and "The Real" or start her podcast.