Saturday, January 10, 2004

Incoming Nashville police chief Ronal Serpas tells of reducing drunk driving fatalities in Hispanic community

"[In Washington State] in 2002, we had over 14 fatalities associated with young men who were getting off work as farm workers, drinking and driving, killing themselves and innocent families and children."

"What we learned was that we, the police, needed to do a better job communicating with these communities, and saying, 'Look, here are the dangers of alcohol and driving. Here are the dangers of not wearing seat belts.' Here we have a circumstance where we learned that we were communicating that in the Anglo press. Well, they don't read the Anglo press. Many of these people don't speak English."

"We went and worked with the communities of faith, with the business communities. The Tri-Cities Chambers of Commerce is a full partner with us, so I dedicated a full-time trooper who was born and raised in the Yakima Valley and is of Hispanic descent and speaks fluent Spanish. And in one year we went from 14 drunk driving fatalities to one. And that's just because of communication."

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