Rockford, Illinois (WTVO) — The Rockford Police Department has hired six bilingual officers to engage with the city’s growing multicultural community.
There are currently 11 police officers undergoing police academy training, six of whom speak multiple languages, according to the RPD.
“We have Spanish, Greek, Arabic, Egyptian and Lithuanian. Katie Statler.
The unit now has a new officer who speaks Pakistani and Hindi.
Statler said it’s important to have bilingual officers in place in case police need to have detailed conversations with witnesses to crimes.
“It’s full of ‘Where?’ conversations. Can you tell me what happened? Can you describe the suspect? Can you describe the vehicle? What happened from start to finish?” Can you tell me?” said Mr. Statler. “This is where the addition of these officers will benefit greatly.”
Officer John Ross speaks Spanish and says he believes it’s important to be able to have a conversation with someone no matter what language they speak.
“This gives me a better understanding of the communities I serve. I can know a little bit about it,” he said. “I feel like it would be better if the police had a representative when dealing with the police.”
“They probably feel more relaxed, too,” he added. “They understand that I am on their side and that when it comes time to tell their story, they feel heard.”
Statler said the department’s goal is a staffing that reflects Rockford’s diverse community.
“These additional officers represent another step forward in the Rockford Police Department’s efforts to communicate with the community and help victims and witnesses feel comfortable talking to officers. I hope we have all the information we need, we don’t miss anything, and maybe that can help us solve the crime,” she said.
https://www.mystateline.com/news/local-news/rockford-police-adds-more-bilingual-officers-as-citys-population-continues-to-diversify/ Rockford Police Adds Bilingual Officers as City’s Population Diversifies