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Angels of Silence: Deaf Police Officers Monitor Oaxaca City Streets

Associated Press
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November 19, 2013





The 230 surveillance cameras in Oaxaca’s historic center and surrounding area provide feeds for the Police’s Command and Communication Control Center (C4). A team of 20 deaf police officers monitors the cameras in search of suspicious activities. (Public Safety Secretariat of Oaxaca)

OAXACA, Mexico - Members of the newest police force in the colonial city of Oaxaca can't hear or speak.

A group called the Angels of Silence operates the city's surveillance cameras to look for crimes being committed on its streets.

Cynthia Zepeda, director of Oaxaca state's emergency services, said the officers have a highly developed visual sense and are not easily distracted.

"They allow us to notice situations that maybe a person who doesn't have that disability wouldn't notice. They read lips and can perceive suspicious movements in people," Zepeda said.

On a recent afternoon, one of the officers noticed a man acting suspiciously around a woman. When the officer had the surveillance camera close in on the couple he saw the man was passing her a small plastic bag that seemed to contain marijuana. Minutes later a police patrol arrived in the area and detained the man.

Oaxaca state Gov. Gabino Cue decided to recruit the officers to make his government more inclusive of people with disabilities. Soon, the 20 officers were in charge of monitoring the city's 200 surveillance cameras day and night.

Read the rest at NZHerald

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