BALTIMORE-U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno praised the National Emergency Number Association for its 911 service in Miami during her 15-year stint there as a prosecutor. Her congratulations also included NENA’s implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act during the last seven years.
Part of the ADA holds that all people with a disability-estimated at 49 million people in the United States-can communicate with emergency-service providers. Reno-the keynote speaker at NENA’s annual convention here last week-wanted to gently slap the wrists of those PSAPs resisting mandated changes.
“I’ve made enforcement of the ADA one of my high priorities,” she told attendees, “and NENA has promoted compliance. But how can we do better?”
Answering her own question, Reno forwarded a three-stage plan to ensure national adherence to the rules: promoting more education and technical expertise, negotiating with those not in compliance to reach a common understanding, and litigating “vigorously” those who will not.
“Many states and localities comply when they understand this,” she added.
Reno’s Justice Department has reviewed 40 911 centers thus far for ADA compliance, and some have not passed muster, mostly because they have not installed such equipment as TDDs for deaf-community access. Other problems include a lack of training, such as treating all silent calls as potential TDD calls. Reno said the spot checks will continue.