Language Gap: Police, Non-English Speakers

Police Look To Bridge Communication Barrier Through Volunteers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - No matter where a person falls on the language debate, emergencies happen, and it can be intimidating to ask for help when you don't know the predominant language in the United States.

During a phone call on Monday, an officer found himself in a situation where he needed to know Spanish. According to scanner traffic, there was only one officer in all of Colorado Springs able to speak Spanish, and that officer was too far away.

Authorities in Colorado Springs had to look for help from Palmer Park, Monument and the Air Force Academy.

The call was not a serious emergency, but police tell KRDO NewsChannel13 they are ready in the event of a serious emergency involving non-English speakers through the help of volunteers.

"They make themselves available and so if we came across a Spanish speaker we can request someone," said Sgt. Steve Noblitt.

CSPD also has contracts with companies to help with translating languages other than Spanish, including Sign Language.

In Colorado Springs, police officers are not required to speak a language other than English, and there is no incentive if they do.

"The only restraint we face is that it could take a while for a translator to get there," said Noblitt

Still, police say the bottom line is that they are tasked with helping community members in need, and that is just what they will do.

CSPD is currently looking for more volunteers, specifically those who can speak Spanish and Korean.

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