November 10th, 2022 – Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr., Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilman James O’Connor joined with community advocates this week to announce a new program to assist Deputy Sheriffs communicate with deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired residents.
“While speaking to our constituents in the deaf and hard of hearing community, it was brought to our attention that these residents often have difficulty understanding and being understood when interacting with law enforcement,” said Sheriff Toulon. “These new visual cards will aid our Deputies during vehicle stops and any other interaction with the hard of hearing public,” he added.
“We are grateful to Councilman Jim O’Connor and Sheriff Errol Toulon for bringing this important tool to the hearing impaired community. The Palm Card program is an example of how instrumental advisory boards can be, and is why, in addition to our Town of Islip Disability Advisory Board, we have the Veterans Advisory Board headed by Councilman John Cochrane; the Islip Town Environmental Council (ITEC); the Youth Advisory Board; the Islip Unity Council and our Town of Islip Substance Abuse/Opioid Task Force to name just a few. Advisory Boards serve as a direct link to residents and a conduit for communication and for improving quality of life.” - Islip Supervisor, Angie Carpenter
Islip Town Councilman James P. O’Connor, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Town of Islip Disability Advisory Board shared, “Today, is a great day in Suffolk County, as we take a significant step to support the deaf and hard of hearing community. I am thrilled to see that our collaborative advocacy has culminated in the announcement of these much-needed visual palm cards. Looking to the future, let us continue our staunch advocacy for the disabled community, while ensuring their representation in all matters.” Councilman O’Connor concluded, “Please join me in recognizing Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr. and his team for spearheading this inclusive initiative for Suffolk County residents.”
It is estimated that more than 40,000 residents in Suffolk County have a hearing impairment or are deaf. To ensure Suffolk’s Deputies can safely communicate with all residents, all Deputy Sheriffs, including those on patrol and serving warrants, will now be equipped with a new visor-sized palm card with images and icons that allow Deputies to identify needs with residents who are unable to communicate traditionally. Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs will be the first law enforcement agency in Suffolk County to be equipped with these visor cards.