Department of Justice Civil Rights Division


Disability Rights Section P.O. Box 66738 Washington, DC 20035-6738

JUL 16 1996 CERTIFIED MAIL - RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED Col. Michael D. Robinson Director Department of State Police 714 South Harrison Road East Lansing, Michigan 48823 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Re: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Michigan Department of State Police Dear Col. Robinson and Mr. This letter constitutes our Letter of Findings under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ​ 12131-12134. Title II of the ADA, and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation at 28 C.F.R. Part 35, prohibits public entities from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability. As an instrumentality of a State or local government, the Michigan Department of State Police is a "public entity" subject to the requirements of title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. 35.104. Our office enforces title II requirements, as applied to State and local police departments, through investigation, negotiation, issuance of Letters of Findings, and, if necessary, referral for possible litigation. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II against the Department of State Police. The complainant stated that he is deaf and uses a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) for telephone communications. In the complaint, he alleges that on May 25, 1994, 9:00 p.m., during a tornado

warning, he called the Northville Post ("Post") by a TDD three times and that the Post failed to answer his calls. He alleges that subsequent to those calls, he used the Michigan Relay Center to call the Post and learned that the Post did not have a TDD He alleges that he asked the police officer who answered his relayed call to have a TDD installed, but that the Post did not take such action. 01-00419 2 We have completed our investigation of the complaint. As discussed below, to correct the areas alleged to be in noncompliance with title II, the Department of State Police has established a TDD implementation plan. Therefore, we conclude that the Department of State Police is now in compliance with the ADA with respect to the allegations. FACTS Our investigation included a review of the Department of State Police's policies, procedures, and pertinent records provided by the Department of State Police and the complainant. Based on our inquiry, we find as follows. The information we obtained established that the complainant is deaf and uses a TDD for telephone communication. The Department of State Police provides 9-1-1 emergency service. The information confirmed that the Department of State Police did not provide direct access to its telephone emergency service for individuals who use TDD'S. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS Public entities offering telephone emergency services, including 9-1-1 services, must provide "direct access" to individuals who use TDD'S. 28 C.F.R. 35.162. The Department of Justice's analysis of the regulation regarding direct access to 9-1-1 emergency services explains that "Telephone emergency access thorough a third party or through a relay service would not satisfy the requirement for direct access. 28 C.F.R. 35.162, App. A at. 464 (1993). See also Department of Justice's The Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II Technical Assistance Manual, Covering State and Local Government Programs and Services, II-7.3100 (1993 & Supp. 1994) ("Direct access"

means that emergency telephone services can directly receive calls from TDD's . . . without relying on outside relay services or third party services.). ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION The information we obtained indicates that at the time of the complainant's call, the Department of State Police did not have a TDD to provide direct access to its telephone emergency service. In response, the Department of State Police has developed a written TTY/TDD implementation plan. The purpose of the plan is to outline procedures that will ensure that telephone emergency services provided to individuals who use TDDs are as effective as those provided to other telephone users. Under the plan, the Department of State Police will install a TDD at every work site where direct telephone calls are received from the public requesting emergency services. 01-00420 3 In order to ensure the proper operation of TDD'S, as well as the effective processing of TDD callers, the Department will provide comprehensive training for every dispatcher, including newly hired dispatchers. The Department of State Police will also conduct a testing program. Based on all of the above, we find the Department of State Police to be in compliance with title II and its implementing regulation, as to the allegations in the complaint. This case is closed as of the date of this letter. This determination is not intended and should not be construed to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the title II regulation which may exist, but are not specifically discussed herein. We appreciate the cooperation and assistance that William A. Slaughter from the Department of State Police extended to our office during the course of the investigation. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact me at (202) 3072236.


Robert J. Mather Attorney Disability Rights Section