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SCPD Commish Highlights Programs for Diverse Population

Wed, Sep 21, 2011

Opinions, Suffolk

Commissioner Richard Dormer Highlights Police Programs for Diverse Population

Dormer

“The Suffolk County Police Department is committed to providing the highest level of service to each and every member of the community. We strongly refute the claims being made at a press conference being held outside of the Third Precinct this morning asserting that the Suffolk County Police Department is somehow dragging its feet in providing programs that will allow it to better communicate with members of the public. The truth is that the Suffolk County Police Department has implemented numerous programs that serve as a model for other municipalities and allow us to communicate with all members of the community.

“The department has focused a tremendous amount of resources to ensure that persons with limited English proficiency are able to effectively communicate during interactions with members of the Police Department and gain equal access to our services. Rather than being criticized for imperfections that were being worked through as we ramped up our progressive language-translation system, the SCPD should be recognized for being one of the few counties in the nation to have such a comprehensive system.

“The department not only complies with statutory law and best practices in this regard, but in many cases exceeds them. Suffolk County’s programs to facilitate the needs of different communities serves as a model for other municipalities, as was noted during a recent edition of News 12’s Diverse Long Island, during which officials in a Nassau community lauded Suffolk for its efforts on this front, which have included:

  • Administering a new, bilingual police officer exam that will designed to strengthen the ranks of bilingual Spanish-speaking officers within the department.
  • Increasing the number of Spanish-speaking 911 operators taking emergency calls.
  • Providing all new police recruits with basic Spanish-language training, to supplement officers on the force who are already fluent in Spanish.
  • Providing on an in-service basis to police officers, supervisors and detectives quick-reference, Spanish language guides for use in the field.
  • Equipping every precinct, investigative command and public police facility with an interpreter service dual-handset telephone that can provide on-the-spot translations in more than 170 languages. Furthermore, we have posted signage in multiple languages at readily-visible locations in police facilities informing individuals that this interpretation service is available at no cost. In addition, interpreter cellular telephones are deployed in vehicles throughout the police district, immediately providing this interpretation service when a bilingual officer is not readily available.
  • Translating various, key forms and informational documents into Spanish.
  • Creating a separate section in the Suffolk County Police Department’s website called Informacion en Espanol.

“Many of these changes were implemented before we received the United States Department of Justice’s Technical Assistance Letter last week, and we are focused on providing even more services in the future. Members of the Suffolk County Police Department have made great strides in building bridges with the local community and civic groups, and will continue to do so. The Suffolk County Police Department remains committed to working closely with the community, as well as the Department of Justice, to ensure we continue to provide the highest possible level of police service.”

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