Longview Plans Spanish Speaking Patrol - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/19/06-Longview

Longview Plans Spanish Speaking Patrol

With an ever growing Spanish-speaking population in Longview, police are now gearing up for a civilian patrol of Spanish-speaking candidates to fill a long overdue void with the Hispanic community.

"I think it's an excellent idea for Longview to be doing this because there's a lot of Hispanic speaking people here people from all over could help a lot of people out," said Longview resident Rudy Martinez.

The civilian patrol will be the go between for the department and the Hispanic community to help in emergency response, but also to build trust. "That's one of the main reasons for it to build that trust between the community and the police department so they can understand that we're there for their benefit and to protect their rights," said sergeant Richard Spruiell of the Longview Police Department.

The urgency is understanding and in being understood, and it could safe lives not having to wait for a translation. "I see it as a big benefit there's so many Hispanics in the community right now that do not know the language," said Longview resident Anita Rincon.

Officers with the department believe the patrol will become instrumental in solving some cultural and language barriers that have existed with the Hispanic community over the years, a barrier that has hampered investigations in the past. Many Hispanics come from countries where there is a fear and distrust of police.

"When you deal with recent immigrants that come from countries that have somewhat of a corrupt police concept , they bring those same ideas with them and they view police the same way they did back home," Spruiell said.

Police hope the new effort to communicate, will translate into trust as well. The training will begin in March.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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