A Message from ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN As a law enforcement officer, you have pledged to ensure the safety of Illinois resi- LISA MADIGAN dents. While carrying out this Illinois Attorney General important work, you may be faced with unique issues when interacting with people DISABILITY RIGHTS BUREAU who are blind or visually impaired as vic- tims, perpetrators, and witnesses. CHICAGO Under the Americans with Disabilities Act 100 West Randolph Street (ADA), persons who are blind or visually Chicago, Illinois 60601 impaired are entitled to the same services 1-312-814-5684 law enforcement provides to anyone else. TTY: 1-800-964-3013 They may not be excluded or segregated from services, denied services, or other- wise treated differently than other people. SPRINGFIELD 500 South Second Street To guarantee the rights of people whose Springfield, Illinois 62706 disability affects vision, we must make every effort to ensure effective communi- 1-217-524-2660 cation. Law enforcement agencies, there- TTY: 1-877-844-5461 fore, are required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov procedures as needed to accommodate those who are blind or have a visual impairment. I commend you for your continued work to safeguard Illinoisans and hope that you find the information in this brochure help- This project was supported by Grant # 2004-DB-BX-0043, awarded by the ful as you work with people who are blind Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of or visually impaired. Justice, through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Points of view or opinions contained within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, or the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. 03/08.10M.C08-688 Lisa Madigan This material is available in alternate format upon request. Attorney General The Rights of Persons Who Are Blind or • Do not label or define people by their Tips for Positive and Effective Interactions Visually Impaired impairment. For example, refer to the per- with Guide Dog Users and Guide Dogs It is important for law enforcement officers to son as "a woman who is visually impaired" When interacting with someone who uses a respect the rights of people who are blind or rather than "a blind woman." guide dog, remember these basic guidelines: visually impaired. Some of those rights • Pay attention to your tone. • Never pet a guide dog without permission. include: o Do not speak loudly. Most people who • Guide dogs are working animals, not pets. • The right to have printed materials provided are blind or visually impaired hear well. Guide dogs are specifically trained to per- in an alternate format, including large print, o Avoid pitying or talking down to a person form certain tasks, and are also bred and audiotape, compact disc, computer diskette, who is blind. trained to be socialized and non-aggressive. and Braille, upon request. • Guide dogs must accompany their compan- • The right to have effective communication The Rights of Guide Dog Users ions at all times. Therefore, an attack on a with law enforcement officers in their Many persons with visual guide dog can have the same effect as an communities. impairments have guide assault on its companion. These guide dogs dogs. These dogs are must receive the same protection and Tips for Positive and Effective Interactions trained working animals, respect as their companions. with Persons Who Are Blind or Visually and both the animals and Impaired their companions have Important Laws Regarding Persons Who • Initiate contact and identify yourself. important rights: Are Blind or Visually Impaired o Introduce yourself immediately as a law • The Illinois White Cane • Americans With Disabilities Act, enforcement officer and have others who Law and Guide 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. are present introduce themselves as well. Dog Access Act make it a • Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/1 o Offer your name, your badge number, and misdemeanor to deny a person with a guide • Guide Dog Access Act, 720 ILCS 630/1 the telephone number of your dispatcher, dog or service animal access to any public • Illinois White Cane Law, 775 ILCS 30 and support the individual in verifying accommodation, including restaurants, • Assistance Animal Damages Act, your identity. stores, medical facilities, and government 510 ILCS 70/4.03 • Avoid lapses in conversation during your buildings. • Illinois Vehicle Code - Pedestrian interview without informing victims why • In Illinois, it is illegal to abuse or kill service Right-of-Way, 625 ILCS 5, Section 1-177 you are silent. animals. This includes guide dogs. o Express attentiveness, concern, and com- 510 ILCS 70/4.03-04. passion through your voice and choice of • A person with a guide dog or service animal words. may recover civil penalties if someone o Offer to fill out forms and read written injures or in any way impairs the ability of information aloud for victims. Be sure to the guide dog or service animal to provide explain all printed materials and make services. 740 ILCS 13/10. those materials available in alternative format upon request. • Be sure to orient individuals to their sur- roundings as you walk with them.