Communication cards will help police bridge gap

·2 min read

The Medicine Hat Police Service has rolled out a new tool to use in the community.

Every local police officer has been issued a communication card, which were created in conjunction with Saamis Immigration.

Each card has a series of pictures to allow officers to communicate with people who may not speak English as their first language.

Insp. Brent Secondiak says it isn’t overly common, but communication breakdowns can happen during routine traffic stops.

“I know for sure one of the officers has already used the new communication card,” he said. “We identified a gap in what we were doing and what other services were doing in other communities. That’s how this started.

“We developed this locally and we’re excited to have these in our hands.”

Pictures on the card include a stop sign, red light, a speed limit indicator and others. In the centre of the card the officer can point to whether someone is being ticketed, warned or arrested. The card can be used to communicate further need for help from EMS or towing services.

The back of the card aims to help the officer with what the best ways to communicate with people are in different situations, whether that is texting, writing, verbally or sign language.

“This is a really cool idea and a neat card,” said Secondiak. “We managed to fit a lot on it.”

Secondiak says it is a great tool for communicating with people who have trouble hearing.

“This is a great initiative that was really easy to plan,” he said. “Every patrol officer will have one in their vehicle and can reference them when needed.

“We’ve been working on this since around September, so it was nice that it came together pretty quickly.”

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News