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Officers Learn Basic Sign Language

The Department of Public Safety (PSD) Sheriffs Division and Corrections Division, took part in a program to learn American Sign Language for Police and Corrections Officers, a course offered by All Hands on Deck.

All Hands on Deck. Courtesy photo.

This program helps to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the deaf and hard of hearing community. During this progressive course sheriff deputies, adult corrections officers (ACOs) and other PSD staff learned the basic skills needed to communicate with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing until a Legal Certified Sign Language Interpreter arrives.

During the classes, deputies, ACOs and other staff learned how to sign basic words and phrases, such as: yes, no, are you deaf, do you understand, I called an interpreter, police, help is coming and calm down. They also learned the hand gestures for license, registration, insurance and speeding, to name a few.

All Hands on Deck. Courtesy photo.

“This class was taught by deaf trainers and for some Deputies and ACOs, it was the first time interacting with the deaf community,” said Acting Training and Staff Development Administrator Marte Martinez. “The deputies, ACOs and staff acquired new skills that will benefit their community.”

All Hands on Deck worked with Department officials to explain the necessity of getting auxiliary aids/services into their facilities, as well as learning how to communicate with inmates and detainees who are deaf or hard of hearing.

TajaRay Ferland is the owner and training instructor of All Hands on Deck. Her program has taught sessions to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

“All Hands on Deck thanks the students for their enthusiastic participation and the Department of Public Safety for its progressiveness and diligence in its effort in continuing to advance technology and education for the Hawaiian community,” said Ferland.

UH Hilo Offering American Sign Language Classes

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers non-credit American Sign Language (ASL) classes open to anyone age 15 and older.American Sign Language Level 1A will introduce the basics of ASL, including grammar and vocabulary for simple social conversation. Participants will also learn about deaf culture and rules of social interaction. Instructor Vicki Linter has been an ASL interpreter for 25 years and has taught ASL in California and Hawaiʻi. Classes will be held in UH Hilo’s Kanaka`ole Hall Room 106 on Wednesdays from 5 – 6:30 p.m., September 20 – November 22. The cost is $150.

American Sign Language Level 1B is for anyone who has some experience with ASL. Participants will focus on advancing expressive and receptive conversational skills. The course will be taught by Pam Bond, a deaf instructor and native in ASL with 12 years of teaching experience at Brigham Young University and at the high school level in Utah. Classes will be held in UH Hilo’s Kanaka`ole Hall Room 106 on Thursdays from 5 – 6:30 p.m., September 14 – November 16. The cost is $150.

Both classes require the Signing Naturally Student Workbook, Level 1, Units 1-6.

For more information and to register, call CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.