Law enforcement agencies in the Midlands honor Hispanic Heritage Month
Law enforcement agencies in the Midlands gathered to honor Hispanic Heritage Month and introduced a new tool that helps break down language barriers in order to build relationships between officers and hispanic communities.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Law enforcement agencies in the Midlands gathered to honor Hispanic Heritage Month and introduced a new tool that helps break down language barriers in order to build relationships between officers and hispanic communities.
Cayce, Lexington, and Richland law enforcement celebrating the heritage month with a shared belief that everyone regardless of culture, language, or immigration status deserves to be safe and have access to justice.
“This morning we’re not here just to celebrate hispanic culture but we’re also here to celebrate our partnerships with the hispanic community,” says Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan.
“We law enforcement in the Midlands have had great successes with hiring more hispanic officers and more bilingual officers but there is still more work to do,” says Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon.
“Its up to us, those who wear the uniforms, to reach out to these different communities to make sure they know that we care about them and we want to work with them,” says Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
These leaders say collectively they are always looking for ways to strengthen relationships with the community. The agencies will be now using “Say Hi” to help with language barriers. It’s an app that allows people to communicate and translate 98 different languages.
“Its a huge advantage because now we can trust the police, now people coming from another country – not only spanish but other languages – they will be able to communicate with the law enforcement and thats a huge advantage,” says Silvino Escareno, who is a Hispanic community leader.
Si, Se Puede which means ‘yes we can’ is a newly formed hispanic leaders committee that is dedicated to strengthening relationships between law enforcement and the hispanic community. Leaders say these efforts from law enforcement shows inclusion.
“No matter the color, no matter the race, no matter the countries they come from, we are a community. We are just one and the more united the more stronger the communities out there.,” says Agner Munoz, who is a Hispanic community leader.