U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section P.O.

Box 66738 Washington, DC 20035-6738 DEC 19 1996 DJ # XX Mr. Michael McDonough, Director Bureau of Support Services Portland Public Safety 109 Middle Street Portland, Maine 04101 Dear Mr. McDonough: Thank you for your assistance and cooperation with my November 1, 1996, review of the Portland 9-1-1 system's compliance with title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You were very helpful. Thank you, also, for your letter of November 26, 1996, regarding the steps you have taken to improve the Portland 9-1-1 system's accessibility to individuals who use TDDs for telephone communication. As we discussed during our meeting, title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in State and local government services, including 9-1-1 services. Section 35.162 of the enclosed regulation implementing title II requires that telephone emergency services provide direct TDD access. My review raised several concerns about the accessibility of Portland's 9-1-1 services to people who use TDDs. Those concerns involved the need for additional TDD equipment, written standard operating procedures for handling TDD calls, training and testing for call-takers, and public outreach. Your November 26, 1996, letter indicates that you have purchased two additional TDDs in order to ensure that each calltaker has easy access to a TDD. Your letter also indicates that you have purchased a video training series about TDD-accessible 9-1-1 services, that all personnel assigned to the communications

division are receiving that training, and that call-takers will be tested on the material. udd:hille:me911new.ltr cc:Records Chrono Wodatch Magagna Hill Mather Novich FOIA 01-04371 In light of the significant steps you have already taken to ensure TDD access to your system, only a few issues remain to be addressed and you have agreed to resolve these issues. First, you should ensure that backup TDD equipment is available for cases of equipment failure. You have indicated that your 9-1-1 system's standard operating procedures do not include procedures for answering TDD calls. Such procedures are important to ensure that TDD calls are handled appropriately and consistently. Such procedures must ensure that call-takers consider "silent" open lines as possible TDD calls and respond accordingly without requiring the TDD caller to hit additional keys, that call-takers understand the language conventions used in TDD calls, that calltakers understand how to call a TDD-caller back using a TDD, and that call-takers respond appropriately to TDD Relay Service calls. To ensure the continued effectiveness of your training and testing program, refresher courses should be given to call-takers periodically (e.g., every six months) and test calls should be made periodically to ensure call-takers are responding appropriately. Finally, the TDD-accessibility of Portland's 9-1-1 system needs to be brought to the attention of the community. A public education campaign should be designed and implemented to make TDD users and others aware that Portland's 9-1-1 services are directly accessible by TDD. The assistance of individuals from the local community(ies) who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments should be sought in developing and carrying out this program. I have enclosed a list of groups in your area who may be able to assist in this effort. As part of this outreach, the next edition of the local telephone directory must prominently note the direct TDD accessibility of Portland's 9-1-1 services. Such notices should appear at each location in the directory where 9-1-1 services are mentioned.

I understand that the Portland 9-1-1 system will be substantially renovated in the next year to become a Primary Public Service Answering Point in the new statewide 9-1-1 system. I expect that the necessary changes described above will continue to work under the new system. However, we will, of course, work with you to resolve any inconsistencies with the new system. We also expect to contact the persons responsible for implementing the statewide system to provide any assistance they may need to ensure that the new system complies with the requirements of the ADA. I have enclosed a copy of the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.'s publication, Emergency Access Self-Evaluation (EASE) manual, for your information. If I can be of assistance in addressing the issues I have noted, please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 307-0663 or at the above address. I would also appreciate being kept informed of your progress. 01-04372 Again, thank you for all your cooperation and effort in this matter. Sincerely, Eve L. Hill Attorney Disability Rights Section Enclosures 01-04373