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Amherst pilot program to help deaf, hard of hearing residents

The pilot program will give police patrol supervisors an app that connects them with a real-time sign language translator.

AMHERST, N.Y. — Local police are going to have an easier time communicating with hearing-impaired drivers thanks to a new app.

Erie County and the Town of Amherst talked Wednesday about a pilot program that will give police patrol supervisors an app that connects them with a real-time sign language translator.

Police say it's going to make a big difference at times when you don't want something getting lost in translation.

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"Oftentimes, there isn't an issue, right?" Amherst Police Chief John Askey said. "There's a family member there to assist and communicate, but it shows respect to the individual that is hard of hearing or deaf that we're dealing directly with that person, and we're giving them the chance to communicate to the best of their ability rather than in an ad-hoc manner."

If it goes well, it may expand to police around the county.

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