Sunday, October 11, 2009

Teaching Spanish to Pinellas deputies is a smart move

This police force has decided to teach their officers basic conversational Spanish so they can respond better to emergency calls. In the long run, it saves a lot of lives and money too. - - Donna Poisl

by staff

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats probably didn't need any population numbers to tell him that the county's Hispanic population is booming. His deputies see it daily and are grappling with a problem resulting from it: Increasingly, deputies are unable to communicate with people who call them for help. So Coats is sending deputies back to class — to learn Spanish. It is a creative and relatively inexpensive way to address a difficult problem for law enforcement.

Some police agencies in Pinellas have chosen to teach their officers a smattering of conversational Spanish to help them on the beat. For example, earlier this year more than 25 officers in the Clearwater Police Department took an intensive two-week Spanish course. They learned common phrases as well as some cultural information to help them serve Clearwater's fastest growing minority.
Click on the headline to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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