Deaf teen designs placards to improve communication with officers

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A deaf teenager with an idea for improving communication is getting support from Frisco police.

Jack Musser, a 16-year-old Boy Scout, came up with the idea as part of his Eagle Scout service project. 

"The deaf driver, he doesn't really know how to express to the officer, ‘I'm deaf.’ And they feel kind of nervous,” he said.

Musser knows what that's like because he is also deaf, but he can hear with the help of cochlear implants.  

“What I want to do is ease the tension of that first contact you make with the officer,” he said.

Musser designed placards that deaf or hearing impaired drivers can show to an officer if pulled over.

The cards say the driver has "special communication needs" and makes it clear to the officer that a "failure to cooperate with verbal commands could mean I am not hearing you."

“I presented to Officer Chandler and talked about the benefits and what this could result in, and he loved the idea,” Musser said.

Frisco police partnered with Musser to create a video showing deaf drivers exactly what to do if pulled over.  The back of the card even has a video link.

Musser even instructed patrol officers how to interact with someone showing one of the cards, especially at night. He told officers a deaf person will likely read lips, but can't do that if a flashlight is shining in their face and offered some advice.

"Transition your flashlight toward your face just enough that they can see your lips and be able to better communicate with the officer,” said Frisco Police Sgt. Evan Mattie.

Musser gets his driver’s license this week and hopes other departments consider using the cards.