Rep. Cupp Supports Passage Of Bill To Help Police Better Communicate With Disabled Ohioans
HB 115 creates system to notify officers of potential communication disorder

COLUMBUS—State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) yesterday supported the passage of House Bill 115 to create a voluntary program for facilitating effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities.

If the bill becomes law, an individual with a communication disorder may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS, which is used only by authorized law enforcement personnel.

This process will enable a law enforcement officer who pulls over a driver to know when they run a check on the vehicle’s license plate if the person has a communication disorder, such as autism, a hearing impairment, or PTSD that might result in a difficult situation without the officer having that knowledge.  By officers having access to such information before approaching the vehicle, it allows officers to put into action their training regarding disabled individuals.

“Being pulled over by law enforcement officer can be a stressful to a motorist under the best of situations.  If the police officer knows prior to approaching that it may involve a person with a communication disability, it can keep a potential situation from escalating if communication is difficult. Signing up for this system voluntary but it could be a positive benefit to both law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities,” Rep. Cupp said.

Ohioans over the age of 18 would be able to enroll in the system, and minors could be enrolled by their parents or guardians. Only law enforcement personnel would have access to the information in the database to assure privacy to those who choose to enroll.

House Bill 115 is a Buckeye Pathway bill aimed at strengthening Ohio families and communities. The legislation now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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