204-17M-279, -290, -295, -346, -361, -400 & -401

  1. This matter was initiated by seven complaints filed with the United States Department of Justice ("United States") against the Consolidated City of Jacksonville (“City”) regarding the Sheriff's Office (“the Sheriff's Office”). The complaints alleged that the Sheriff's Office, which is a municipal subdivision of the City, violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department's regulation implementing Title II, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by denying effective communication for a qualified individual with a disability.
  2. The Department of Justice is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the allegations of the complaints in this matter, to determine compliance by the Sheriff's Office with Title II of the ADA and the Title II regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 12133 to bring a civil action enforcing Title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter, except as provided in paragraph 14.
  3. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and the City.
  4. The ADA applies to the City because it is a public entity as defined in Title II of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12131, 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
  5. In order to secure compliance by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:

    Prohibition of Discrimination

  7. The City, specifically including the Sheriff’s Office, has not and does assert it will not discriminate against anyone based on the fact that the person is deaf or hard of hearing or is associated with someone known to be deaf or hard of hearing. See 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130.
  8. The City agrees not to retaliate against or coerce in any way any person who is trying to exercise his or her rights under this Agreement or the ADA. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.134. General Obligations
  9. The Sheriff's Office, hereinafter recognized by both parties as a municipal subdivision of the City, as required by Title II, agrees to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, whenever necessary to provide effective communication between or among employees of the Sheriff's Office and individuals with a disability. In determining what type of auxiliary aid or service is necessary, the Sheriff's Office agrees to give primary consideration to the requests of the individual with a disability. 28 C.F.R. § 35.160. “Primary consideration” means that the Sheriff's Office will honor the choice expressed by the individual with a disability unless it can demonstrate that another equally effective means of communication is available; or that the preferred auxiliary aid or service would fundamentally alter the service, program, or activity; or that use of the means chosen would result in undue financial or administrative burdens. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.164.
  10. The Sheriff’s Office agrees to contract with one or more qualified oral/sign language interpreter agencies within 90 days to ensure that interpreting services will be available on a priority basis, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, or make other appropriate arrangements (such as contracting directly with or hiring qualified interpreters). The Sheriff’s Office will also immediately provide the United States with a copy of its contract with the interpreter agency or agencies, or a detailed explanation of its alternative arrangements. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office will record all oral/written requests it receives for oral/sign language interpreters and any action taken or denial of services. That record shall be provided to the Department for review of compliance with this Agreement upon request by the Department and in annual compliance reports as required in Paragraph 14, below.
  11. The term "qualified interpreter" includes “sign language interpreters,” “oral interpreters," or other "interpreters" who are able to interpret competently, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a speech impairment, given that individual’s language skills and education. Not all interpreters are qualified for all situations. For example, an interpreter who is qualified to interpret using American Sign Language (ASL) is not necessarily qualified to interpret orally. Also, someone who has only a rudimentary familiarity with sign language or finger spelling is not a "qualified sign language interpreter." Likewise, someone who is fluent in sign language but who does not possess the ability to process spoken communication into the proper signs or to observe someone signing and translate their signed or finger-spelled communication into spoken words is not a qualified sign language interpreter. 28 C.F.R. § 35.104. An interpreter who knows tactile interpreting may be the only interpreter who is qualified to interpret for someone who is both deaf and blind.
  12. The Sheriff's Office will post conspicuous signs in the public area visible to individuals with disabilities advising them of the availability of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, as follows:

    To ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Sheriff's Office will provide auxiliary aids, such as note and pen, TTYs, or sign language or oral interpreters, free of charge.

    Please ask your officer or other Sheriff's Office personnel for assistance, or contact the Sheriff's Office at (904) 630-0500 (voice) or 633-5065 (TTY).

    The signs will be posted within ninety (90) days of the signing of this Agreement. The Sheriff's Office will ensure that each station or substation and each detention facility posts this notice in the lobby or reception area of each facility, and in the detention area, along with the international symbol of accessibility. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.163.
  13. Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Sheriff's Office agrees to provide, if it has not already done so, at least one TTY for use by the staff, public, or detained persons at every police station or substation and every detention facility. Where telephones are available to the public, a TTY will be made available to visitors upon request. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.161. Signage will be displayed at all public telephones indicating the availability of the TTY and the procedure for obtaining it. Where inmate telephone calls are time-limited, the Sheriff’s Office will adopt policies providing inmates who use TTYs reasonable additional time to make those calls, due to the slower nature of TTY communications compared with voice communications.
  14. Within six (6) months, and at least once annually throughout the term of this Agreement, the Sheriff's Office will train officers about how to communicate effectively with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and how to obtain oral or sign language interpreters contracted by the Sheriff's Office. Training materials shall be submitted to the Department for review and comment no less than ninety (90) days before the first training after entry of this Agreement. Any changes to training materials will be submitted to the Department not less than thirty (30) days before being incorporated into the training.
  15. Implementation and Enforcement

  16. The City, through the Sheriff’s Office, will report annually to the Department on compliance with this Agreement, and the Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time and may enforce this Agreement if the Department believes that any requirement therein has been violated. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will specifically notify the Sheriff’s Office Director of Personnel and Professional Standards in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. The Department will give the Sheriff's Office thirty (30) days from the date it notifies the Sheriff’s Office Director of Personnel and Professional Standards of any breach of this Agreement to cure that breach, prior to instituting any court action. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Sheriff’s Office, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement or Title II and may, in such action, seek any relief available under the law. Failure by the Department to enforce any provision or deadline of this Agreement will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions or deadlines of this Agreement.
  17. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. It is a violation of this Agreement for the Sheriff's Office to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining advance written agreement with the Department for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.
  18. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years from the effective date of this Agreement.
  19. The person(s) signing for the City of Jacksonville represents that he or she is authorized to bind the City to this Agreement.
  20. This Settlement Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice Nos. 204-17M-279, -290, -295, -346, -361, -400 & -401 and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written Settlement Agreement, including its attachments, will be enforceable.
  21. A copy of this document may be made available to any person by the City or the Department upon request.
  22. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law not specifically referenced herein. This Agreement does not affect the City’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  23. If any term of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided, however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the United States and the City shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt mutually agreeable amendments to this Agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed upon relative rights and obligations.

For the Consolidated City of Jacksonville: For the United States:

Chief Administrative Officer
Office of the Mayor
St. James Building
117 West Duval Street, Suite 400
Jacksonville, Florida 32202


Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

PHILIP L. BREEN, Special Legal Counsel
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division


Assistant General Counsel for
the City of Jacksonville
Office of the General Counsel
117 West Duval Street, Ste. 480
Jacksonville, Florida 32202


Trial Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW NYA Bldg.
Washington, DC 20530
Telephone: (202) 307-2236
Fax: (202) 616-6862



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Nov 2, 2007