Law enforcement companies within the Midlands area of South Carolina not too long ago gathered to have a good time Nationwide Hispanic Heritage Month, which is noticed from September 15 to October 15, and introduce a brand new cellphone app to interrupt down language limitations and construct relationships with the neighborhood they serve.
Companies together with the Cayce, Lexington, Richlands, West Columbia and Springdale police departments not too long ago adopted the language app “Say Hello” to facilitate communication with Hispanic immigrants. The app interprets 98 languages by detecting a consumer’s voice, permitting officers to conveniently translate English to Spanish immediately.
“This morning we’re not right here simply to have a good time Hispanic tradition however we’re additionally right here to have a good time our partnerships with the Hispanic neighborhood,” Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan stated, in response to ABC Columbia.
The Cayce Police Division not too long ago launched the Hispanic Neighborhood Management Initiative, a collaborative effort to carry regulation enforcement companies nearer with the Hispanic neighborhood, no matter language or immigration standing. Over the previous yr, the sheriff has fashioned partnerships with native companies, regulation enforcement companies and organizations just like the South Carolina Coalition in opposition to Home Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCDVSA).
One of many main issues encountered in constructing relationships has been communication difficulties resulting from language limitations. Cowan hopes the brand new device will resolve this drawback.
“How will we talk? How will we hear what’s happening? How do we offer our providers? Effectively, we are able to’t try this if we don’t perceive the language,” Cowan stated.
Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon stated Midland’s companies are additionally working to recruit extra Hispanic and bilingual officers to signify the rising minority of Hispanics within the area.
“We regulation enforcement within the Midlands have had nice successes with hiring extra Hispanic officers and extra bilingual officers, however there’s nonetheless extra work to do,” Koon stated.
Silvino Escreno is a neighborhood chief with the newly fashioned committee Si Se Puede — or “Sure, We Can” — which is devoted to forging relationships between regulation enforcement and the Hispanic neighborhood. Escreno believes the device will assist construct belief between residents and police.
“It’s an enormous benefit as a result of now we are able to belief the police, now folks coming from one other nation — not solely Spanish however different languages — they’ll be capable to talk with the regulation enforcement and that’s an enormous benefit.”
SCCADVASA Methods Advocacy Director Tricia Ravenhorst stated that language limitations typically deter victims who’re current immigrants from reaching out for assist.
“Our purpose is simply to assist our regulation enforcement companions enhance their entry to each the financial and human sources they should successfully talk with all members of the neighborhood,” Ravenhorst stated, in response to WACH Information. “We wish to welcome, in South Carolina, folks from all around the world, and we wish to be sure no matter these variations, nobody deserves to be a sufferer of crime, and everybody deserves to get assist after they want it.”
West Columbia Police Chief Marion Boyce stated in an announcement: “We, on the West Columbia Police Dept., consider that language ought to by no means be a barrier in terms of public security. Our mission is to supply a high quality police service to all folks. We’re excited to be part of the Si Se Puede staff and stay up for constructing relationships inside our Hispanic neighborhood.”
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott additionally launched an announcement concerning the efforts.
“Our Hispanic neighborhood is without doubt one of the issues that make the Midlands so particular and we should always have a good time them. Language ought to by no means be a barrier between peace officers and the Hispanic neighborhood,” he stated.