Special Interest Resource Center. March, Michael LaRiviere. Salem, Massachusetts, with a population of approximately 43, has a police force of 90 officers and uses a community policing model. In this capacity, Officer LaRiviere Investigates a wide range of crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and crimes against undocumented and LEP victims. LEP individuals suffer discrimination when they cannot effectively communicate their needs.
This problem was addressed in with passage of the Civil Rights Act. Title VI of that act requires federally funded programs to provide access to services regardless of race, color, or national origin.
Additionally, the LEP Executive Orderissued in August ofalso that people with LEP should have meaningful access to federally conducted and federally funded programs and activities, which include most police departments across the country that receive federal funding assistance through grants, training, use of equipment, donations of surplus property, and other assistance.
The plan can be a work in progress, identifying LEP communities, finding qualified interpreters, training and finding funding. In addition to having a plan for interpretation, materials available for the public should be translated in languages identified as representative of the community.
The folowing chart illustrates all the various components involved in a good language access plan. Many police departments rely on bilingual officers or staff. Often this amounts to the bilingual person listening for several minutes and then Lep army definition of sexual harassment in a few words the gist of what the person said.
In contrast, qualified interpretation provides word for word or sentence by sentence interpretation allowing the whole story to unfold just as it would for an English speaker. While a bilingual officer may be able to assist in exigent circumstances, just speaking the language does not qualify a person to interpret, especially where legal terms may be used.
Interpretation is a specialized skill and qualified interpreters increase the safety of officers and the people to whom they respond. They can help with identifying offenders and locating weapons.
Qualified interpreters can capture admissible statements such as excited utterances. Ultimately, qualified interpretation can ensure offender accountability. Conversely, where qualified interpretation is unavailable, mistaken identification of offenders or risks to law enforcement or others may result.