Sign language app helps South Pasadena police communicate with community

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The South Pasadena Police Department is using a new app that helps officers talk to a real-time sign language interpreter and communicate with an individual who is hearing or speech impaired.

The South Pasadena Police Department is using a new app that helps officers talk to a real-time sign language interpreter and communicate with an individual who is hearing or speech impaired.

The Purple Communications Video Remote Interpreting app will help officers if they need to get information from an eyewitness who only communicates using sign language.

"If you think of FaceTime, that's essentially what this is. So we are able to provide that service, that translator to that community member and we get the information quickly and efficiently so we can provide the appropriate resources," said Chief Brian Solinsky of South Pasadena police.

Every South Pasadena police officer now has a tablet with the software. Solinsky says the technology has made a big difference from how it used to be.

"Time is of the essence, and what we used to do to communicate with someone who is non-verbal, we had to write down notes and as you can imagine, that's very time consuming, especially in an emergency," said Solinsky.

The technology is inexpensive at about $300 per year.

Now other agencies are calling South Pasadena to ask questions about how it works.

Solinsky says Riverside County is using this, but so far South Pasadena is the first in Los Angeles County to adopt it.

"We always believe in being pro-active instead of being reactive, and this is one demographic in our community where we felt we needed to do something, and we're trying to reach out and provide better service to the community" said Solinsky.
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