Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mexico Deaf Police Officers Fight Crime in Oaxaca

Via PWC's Disability Services Board Newsletter

Committee For Persons With Disabilities
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  Mexico Deaf Police Officers Fight Crime in Oaxaca 

The officers, known as ‘Angels of Silence,’ contribute to keeping the city safe with their heightened vision and ability to read lips. By Sergio Ramos for 10/19/2012

OAXACA, Mexico – The 230 surveillance cameras that monitor the streets of the historic downtown area of Oaxaca – a southeastern city that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 – are watched by deaf police officers who maintain a close eye.

The Oaxaca Police’s Command and Communication Control Center (C4) was reopened in May after chronic maintenance problems had kept it closed for six years. But since the surveillance cameras do not have microphones, the authorities had been unable to determine what was being said by suspected criminals.

So officials turned to State Association for the Deaf to provide personnel with a keen sense of sight and ability to read lips, said Ignacio Villalobos Carranza, deputy secretary for Information and Institutional Development at the Public Safety Secretariat of Oaxaca.

The move has enabled the C4’s deaf police officers to help prevent crime and assist officers on the streets to apprehend suspects, making the downtown area – a major tourism attraction – safer.

“The first advantage the [deaf police officers] provide is that they can read lips,” Villalobos Carranza said. “The second advantage is because the deaf police officers have developed an acute sense of sight – they can see better than most people.”
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