Tyler Police Department holds first community meeting for Spanish-speaking citizens
Tyler Police officer Bianca Smedley noticed a need within the Hispanic community to help bridge the gap between Spanish speaking only citizens and English speakers to better help communicate.
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - “Comunidad” is a community meeting hosted by the Tyler Police Department.
Tyler Police officer Bianca Smedley noticed a need within the Hispanic community to help bridge the gap between Spanish-speaking-only citizens and English speakers to better help communicate.
Officer Smedley says it’s important to her for the community to feel safe and comfortable enough to speak the language that they are used to.
“I grew up in these neighborhoods, I went to Douglas Elementary. I know what it was like to grow up in these neighborhoods especially with my family being from here, so I want them to know that I serve them wholeheartedly,” said Smedley.
Different resources and organizations were present such as PATH, WIC, and the Immigrant Advocacy and Resource Center were present to offer the community support that they may have not known was available.
“So we made it convenient for them. We are starting it at 6 p.m. and we’re holding it at the recreational place here in Tyler, just so they won’t feel intimidated hosting it at the police department. So somewhere where they will feel safe and, you know, just ask the questions that need to be asked and seek those resources that we have here in the department,” said Smedley.
Alejandra Flowers works in Tyler Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
“There’s, you know, Spanish speaking, but we’re also here within the community and we want to let them know that we do have officers here that also speak Spanish and that we’re in every division. There’s Spanish-speaking officers in the crow unit, in criminal investigations, on patrol, so we just want them to get to know us and know that when they have a call they don’t have to worry that someone may not understand them; that we are all here to help,” said Smedley.
Quan Oballe works with the Hispanic radio station, La Invasora. He says it feels great to know that the police are concerned about the Hispanic community.
“To Know that we have officials police officials, officers that speak Spanish and seeing the Tyler Police Department trying to communicate with us really does very good for closing the gap for communication,” said Oballe.
The next Spanish community meeting will be held August 11. Watch Tyler Police Department’s Facebook page for updates.
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