Tori Miller demonstrates the symbol for "sister" to a group learning basic American Sign Language at the Gary (Ind.) Public Safety Facility on Oct. 5, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
AT A GLANCE
The public is invited to take the free American Sign Language class. Call the Gary Police Department at 881-1252 for more information.
Updated: December 13, 2012 1:58AM
Munster High School junior Tori Miller, 16, recently had the attention of several Gary police officers, with the palms and fingers of her hands, as she taught them how to communicate through sign language.
Miller was invited by a member of the Gary Police Department to do a program on American Sign Language for officers who wanted to expand their communication skills with the public, especially the hearing-impaired.
Miller is in her second year taking ASL as a “foreign language” at Munster High School, and was happy to teach the officers the alphabet, numbers and a few simple phrases.
“I was told that one day, a couple deaf people came to the station and, because no one knew sign language, they had to write everything down,” Miller said.
The program took place in the Gary Public Safety Facility’s training division. The officers gave Miller the floor and provided plenty of humor while following her lead.
Miller said sign language is done with a person’s dominant hand.
“Your writing hand is the dominant hand, while the other hand is supporting,” she said.
Miller went through phrases like “May I help you?” “Stop,” “Nice to meet you” and more.
Juvenile division manager Linda Clark said she enjoyed taking the class.
“I absolutely loved it; she was very good, and I am always trying to learn something new,” Clark said.
Cpl. Dwayne Lewis agreed.
“This class is phenomenal; I always wanted to learn sign language,” he said. “Tori is doing a great job.”
Miller gave her students sheets of paper with the American Sign Language manual alphabet and the numbers 0-10.
Miller has been invited to return to the station in December to do another class.
“She truly needs to come sooner than December during her winter break,” Clark said.