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Speaking another language to help for a better Future

Domingo Peralta
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Over the years policing and the justice system have become one of my greatest interest.
This ultimately played a major role in my life while deciding what career path I wanted to
follow. As a student at John Jay majoring in Criminology, my goal is to be part of some form of
law enforcement within the United States. Growing up I had the opportunity to learn another
language and become fluent. This experience provides me with an advantage over those who
arent bilingual as I can communicate with more individuals. This ability is crucial with policing
due to the fact that as a Hispanic-American I can relate to the Spanish speaking community.
Policing refers to the ideology of maintaining order within society by the use of police or
military as mentioned in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. These forms of law enforcement are
used to impose regulations to the people. These rules are used to ensure safety throughout the
individual's. Many officers possess the ability to speak another languages in order to
communicate with the different kinds of people throughout the United States. This ability is
known as being bilingual which is the skill to speak two languages. Over the years this has
proven to be very beneficiary as it helps fight crime. According to Susan Shah of the vera
institute of Justice in New York To fight crime you have to be able to communicate this is
significant as the people and police force should be able to communicate for the greater good.
Living in New York we are accustomed to the bright lights, skyscrapers and the diversity
of people. New York is one of the few states within the United States which is considered a
melting pot of different races, cultures, traditions and languages. Due to this the law enforcement
reflects the people and is greatly diverse. Many of the officers are fluent in different languages
which assist them in communicating with minorities. According to Police departments seeking
more bilingual cops one-third of NYPD employees can speak a second language . Across the

U.S there are many states that encounter conflicts with minorities due to the fact that they arent
able to communicate. States like New York have found ways to adapt to the people. This has led
me to believe that bilingualism is pivotal in order to police a diverse United States. There are
many actions law enforcement can take such as recruiting bilingual officers and different forms
of training. The people should be able to communicate with officers in order to keep a balance
between them.
In the United States of America, states such as North Carolina have difficulties
communicating with non-English speakers due to the large amount of Caucasians within the
Force. An article posted by Asheville Citizens- Times elaborates on the need to hire more
bilingual individuals. According to the Article, North Carolina had the fastest growing Latino
population during the 1990s. Without having the ability to communicate with the Hispanic
Population, tragedies have occurred. Many believe efforts to recruit these bilingual individuals
should become a priority in order to ensure safety within the society. Also current police officers
are influenced into taking a Spanish in order to improve Spanish skills. These measurements
taken by the North Carolina law enforcement are crucial in order to move forward as minorities
continue to increase. This is very different compared to New York as many of the officers are
from a wide variety of races. Many police officers are assigned to communities due to their
ability to speak another language. For example in a Korean community a few more officers of
the same descent are placed in a precinct near them. This helps when trying to communicate with
the people as stated by my interviewee Captain Reyes.

As a primary source to support my position on the importance of bilingual officers, I


interviewed my brother-in-law. Moses Reyes ,a former NYPD Captain was able to elaborate on
his personal experiences and views regarding the topic. During the interview he discussed how

being able to speak another language assisted him over his glorious 22 year career. Reyes
mentioned being able to speak spanish allowed him furthermore understand his surroundings,
along with receiving suspect descriptions and giving directions, It also allowed him to retrieve
missing children from spanish speaking parents and provide faster assistance during an
emergency. However, his inability to speak mandarin played a factor over one of his
cases.During this case , an asian delivery man had been robbed but Reyes couldn't understand
him due to the language barrier. Luckily his partner during the time was of asian descent and was
able to communicate with the victim. This quickly led to the arrest of the perpetrator and
demonstrated the importance of being bilingual. When I asked Reyes about what actions can be
taken in order to assist the language barrier he mentionedTo try recruit officers from the
neighborhoods you need those languages represented. This is significant and plays a role with
which precinct some officers are assigned to. Reyes stated that in Communities prevalent by a
certain ethnic background ,more officers who can speak their language are assigned.Throughout
the interview , I concluded Reyes is a strong advocate for bilingual officers as a second language
allows you to communicate with more individuals. As he mentioned it allows you to provide a
better service to the people and help fight crime
As minorities increase throughout the United States , law enforcement have made
various efforts to adjust. These efforts consist of trainings and recruiting more bilingual officers
or personnel to help aid the language barrier. As mentioned in Police department seeking more
bilingual cops police departments across the U.S have made efforts to employ bilingual officers
and sending cops abroad to learn a language. The article also touches upon how states such as
New York don't always rely on officers as the precincts are equipped with translators. These
translator are able to inform the officer in order assist the victim. Aside from these efforts police

departments are providing basic training on certain languages. For example according to OKCs
bilingual police officers help bridge communication gap Oklahoma City Police Academy
recruits receive 70 to 80 hours of basic spanish. This training allows these future officers to
furthermore communicate with spanish speaking individuals. Aside from getting to know a
language, officers can also be introduced into different cultures in order to properly police.
Policing an increasingly diverse America by Sherman Block elaborates on four cities in Los
Angeles, California and how they have dealt with diversity. Block statesThe training begins
with a 36-hour cultural diversity course in the academy this allows these individuals to receive
an understanding of a culture with their norms. Overall the United States as whole has made an
ample amount of effort to continue adapt to the Diverse America.
Allan Cruz a Honduran native, who is now an Oklahoma city officer has used his ability
to speak spanish throughout his career. As mentioned in OKCs bilingual police officers help
bridge communication gap by Darla Slipke eighty percent of the cities citizens speak English
proficiently meanwhile fourteen percent speak Spanish and the remainder Vietnamese.
Throughout the article Cruz recalls a few instances in which he was able to assist individuals by
speaking his native language. One experience Cruz spoke about was visiting a man at the
hospital who had been slashed with a knife . After speaking to the man in Spanish , he discovered
crucial information about what had occurred to him. The man explained to cruz he didnt report
the incident to the police because he believed he wouldn't have been able to communicate with
them. Cruz informed the man about how the department has bilingual officers qualified to assist
all kinds of people. It is pivotal for individuals to communicate with law enforcement as they are
ultimately fighting for the same cause. As Slipke quotes in her excerpt, Cruz states It helps us

to solve crimes It helps us catch criminals, It helps us to find victim. These are the ways he
believes being able to communicate with the society as it provides a more efficient policing.
Bilingualism I believe is crucial when trying to maintain order within society. Society
and law enforcement must be able to communicate in order to fight crime. According to
Minorities expected to be majority in 2050 minorities will only increase over the years. The
article also mentions how 54 pct of the population will be minorities. This in my opinion will
greatly affect policing throughout the United States. Law enforcement will have to adapt in order
to properly police all these different kinds of people.
Across the United States , communities have felt the influence of bilingual officers as
they have proven to be beneficiary.