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Edmonton police adding Braille sticker to police warrant card


August 11, 2021
By Edmonton Police Service
Credit: Edmonton Police Service

Aug. 11, 2021 – The Edmonton Police Service is adding the word “POLICE” in Braille to its warrant cards to help officers identify themselves to people impacted by blindness.

“Police officers can be easily identified in uniform or by their badges when in plainclothes, but we needed another way to be recognized when we were interacting with persons who have vision loss,” said EPS Det. Rae Gerrard. “It is not uncommon for persons with vision loss to ask to feel police badges to verify they are legitimate, so the addition of Braille helps to quickly identify police officers and build trust.”

After consultation with the local CNIB and sight loss community, it was determined that the addition of a Braille sticker to the police warrant card would be the most cost-effective means of providing officers with enhanced credentials. The sticker can also be easily printed by the CNIB and quickly distributed to the EPS membership.

Braille is a system of raised dots that people who are blind or partially sighted can use to read with their fingers. Each Braille cell is comprised of six dots, arranged in two parallel rows of three dots, and the dot positions are identified by numbers one through six. Each dot, or combination of dots, represents a letter of the alphabet, a number, or punctuation mark.

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“CNIB applauds the Edmonton Police Service for taking this step towards increased accessibility and inclusion,” said Marc Workman, Manager of Operations for Western Canada, CNIB Foundation. “Adding Braille to identification cards will help those living with sight loss feel confident and safe when interacting with members of the EPS.”

CNIB statistics indicate that about 1.5 million Canadians live with sight loss, and an estimated 5.59 million more have an eye disease that could cause sight loss.  In Alberta, there are about 160,000 people with mild to very severe vision loss.

The Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81) sets out the responsibilities for organizations to improve accessibility, and create communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to fully participate in society without barriers.  Through ongoing community engagement and a commitment to action, the Edmonton Police Service continues to make changes to become more inclusive and better serve all citizens.

“We look forward to rolling this out to the police service and improving communication with the sight loss community,” said Iman Saidi, EPS Language Services Coordinator.  “Being inclusive in our efforts means we extend our services to every Edmontonian in the language or form of communication they understand, and this initiative takes us one step closer to inclusivity as we continue to enhance our overall language services program.”

The new Braille identification stickers for warrant cards will be distributed to EPS sworn members starting this week.

For more information about the CNIB Foundation (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), please visit www.cnib.ca.