By Genaro C. Armas
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man eager to pursue a career in law enforcement has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the state police over guidelines that forbid the use of hearing aids in the certification process.
Lawyers for Bill Furman filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania asking the rule be changed so Furman has the opportunity to become a municipal police officer. The state police oversees the certification process for all police officers in Pennsylvania.
Furman, 39, of Boalsburg, calls it a dream to become a police officer. He has used hearing aids since he was 4.
He currently works as a parking officer in Bellefonte and as a Centre County constable, an elected position that involves serving papers and transporting prisoners. He was set to attend a police training academy last year when he said he was told he couldn't continue because of his hearing aids.
His lawyer notes the guidelines allow for the use of glasses to meet vision requirements.
"It's an enhancement I have with the hearing aids," Furman told The Associated Press. "It does not make me better than you, but does it make me normal? Yeah, it's no different than some people who wear corrective lenses."
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A state police spokeswoman said she was not aware if the department's attorneys had seen the suit and could not comment.