Marshallese and Law Enforcement Case Study

HCD poster- Marshallese and Law Enforcement_Page_1.jpgHCD poster- Marshallese and Law Enforcement_Page_2.jpg


Human Centered Design

Northwest Arkansas is home to one of the largest Marshallese populations in America. One of the challenges they face is the lack of proper communication with law enforcment. This communication card serves as a tool for a marshallese person, who does not speak english well, to let the officer know that he or she does not speak english well. It also provides some tips for what to do when they get pulled over, and their rights during a traffic stop.


This undertaking required a lot of field research and interviewing to better understand the the issues that come up during a traffic stop. My partner and I met with a local sheriff to understand the procedures a police officer must follow when making traffic stop including the things that they would ask. We also met with a local attorney who has worked many times with the Marshallese community. Ultimately, this quest offered us several solutions for how design can intervene in this scenario.


The Marshallese leaders wanted a card that a Marshallese person could hand to an officer that would let the officer know that they could not speak english well. However, this only addresses part of the issue. If such a card existed, it would not solve other issues such as lack of knowledge about the law. My solution for this problem was to create a card and sleeve combination. The sleeve lists their rights and tips for how to deal with a traffic stop.  The card itself can be handed to a police officer.

Another design solution for this issue is an instructional animation describing what occurs at a traffic stop. It also provides tips and information on a person’s rights.

HCD final animation with audio from Ariel Romero on Vimeo.