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News from the Supervisor




March 15, 2011


“Driver is Hard of Hearing Card”

Town of Clarkstown Initiative to Improve Communications

Between Police and Residents


(New City, New York) – Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack, Councilmember George Hoehmann, and the Town Board are launching a community based initiative to ensure that residents with a hearing impairment have an easier time communicating with local law enforcement officers during routine traffic stops. 


Together with the Rockland Independent Living Center, Inc., the Town has developed a visor card which indicates to the law enforcement officer that the driver has special communication needs. The visor card, along with a supplementary picture card, not only alerts the officer to the driver’s impairment, but also provides the officer with specific ways he or she could facilitate communication with the officer. For instance, it asks the officer to look directly at the driver when she or he is speaking. It also requests the officer speak slowly and clearly.


 “This card is another effort by the Town to provide tools that will enhance the lives of those residents who have special needs within our community,” said Supervisor Gromack. “Not only will our local police benefit from the visor card, but so will law enforcement throughout Rockland.”


“Car stops are a tense time for both the driver and the officer on the scene. That intensity can magnify if the driver has a hearing impairment,” said Councilman Hoehmann, whose advocacy includes not just the Hard of Hearing Card, but also the File of Life and Project Lifesaver. “This card provides the officer with immediate information that may alleviate some of the difficulty a person with a hearing impairment may be presented with in this situation. It is another tool to assist law enforcement personnel in effectively doing their job.”


The visor card also provides the driver guidance when interacting with the officer to ensure their continued safety, including recommending the driver not reach into the glove box when obtaining the card, and that the driver not make any sudden movements that an officer may interpret as aggressive behavior.


“We strive to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan. “This card provides a means of communication that is invaluable during what may otherwise be a routine car stop.”


“We are grateful that the Town heard our request and has agreed to partner with us to help residents with a hearing impairment that drive” said Nancy Housner of the Rockland Independent Living Center, Inc. Last fall, Housner proposed the idea of the card to Councilman Hoehmann. “The Rockland Independent Living Center, Inc. is committed to helping persons with a disability to obtain and maintain the greatest independence within the community; the visor card will help to do that for drivers with a hearing impairment.”


The Hard of Hearing Cards will be available at upcoming Town events and to residents through the Town Council Office by calling 639-2056. Residents may also obtain the cards when applying for a handicap parking permit at the Town Clerk’s Office or by calling 639-2010. Both offices are located at 10 Maple Avenue, New City, New York 10956. Finally, cards will be available through the Rockland Independent Living Center Inc., located at 873 Route 45, New City, New York 10956 or by calling 624-1366.


10 Maple Avenue, New City, New York 10956 • Telephone (845) 639-2050 • (845) 634-5456

Town of Clarkstown 10 Maple Avenue, New City, NY 10956 (845) 639-2000
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