August Meeting Wrap-up! LAPD and your Hearing Loss.
Thanks to everyone who attended last week’s eye opening, informative and highly interesting talk by LAPD Sergeant Dan Widman, son of our very own Pat Widman.
Dan began discussing how as a field supervisor, he emphasizes with his officers how challenging traffic stops are for those with hearing challenges. While many of us may ultimately notice flashing lights behind us when we are pulled over, we often miss the initial sirens, which can cause an escalation in tension between the officer (who initially is not aware that the person behind the wheel does not hear him/her) and the driver. Police officers are great judges of character and will often write messages down on a notepad once they are aware that they are with someone with hearing loss. The most important thing is for the officer to see the hands of the driver at all times. They need to see that the person behind the wheel is not a threat.
Dan reminded us how important it is to be aware of our surroundings at all times, especially when out at night. Making eye contact with others lessens the chances of becoming a victim. On the freeway, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will approach the driver from the passenger side and likely will use a loudspeaker. A great tip when being signaled to pull over on the freeway is to put your hazard lights on, move into the slow lane and safely exit the freeway with the officer behind you. Hazard lights tell the officer that you are complying with the law and not trying to escape. Hands on the wheel when he/she approaches, and having your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance info handy will de-escalate tensions.
Dan also talked about signage for seat belts that can alert an officer as to the driver’s hearing situation. He also emphasized the importance of following the crowd if (god forbid) any of us are in an active shooter situation and can’t hear what to do. Hands in the air is essential, as initially the police don’t know who the bad guy(s) are.
There was no shortage of good questions from the audience, and had we not been constrained by the clock and other HLAA business, could have kept Dan talking for the entire 2 hours of our meeting!
After the break, Wendi, our highly successful Walk 4 Hearing team captain, reported on the high turnout at the Long Beach walk, as well as the fact that the L.A. Stars were the #1 fundraising team, pulling in over $10,000! A special thanks to Gary, Wendi and Marilyn, our top 3 fundraisers!
Stay tuned for upcoming details for our September 28th meeting on tinnitus.