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Documenting current practices in the management of deaf suspects in the USA


Published online on


Policing: An International Journal, Ahead of Print.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to combine previous research on deaf suspects with the findings from data gathered from law enforcement personnel nationwide to gain an understanding of the common practices of US law enforcement when arresting, interrogating and communicating with deaf suspects. Design/methodology/approach In light of the limited amount of research available on handling deaf suspects, a two-part sampling approach was used. Using critical case sampling, the author surveyed law enforcement via open-ended surveys designed to solicit information about their involvement with deaf suspects and any related questions and concerns. Guided by the Wave 1 data, Wave 2 surveys were administered to law enforcement nationwide (using expert sampling). Findings An analysis of the two waves of data collected was used to assemble the list of current practices. Originality/value This study combines previous research on deaf suspects, which has been published largely through the framework of deaf studies, with the insight of practitioners to identify a list of current practices used by US law enforcement when handling deaf suspects.