Thursday, July 14, 2005

Police get volunteer interpreters through Cricket donation

The Tennessean reports that the Nashville police department has teamed up with the Cricket cell phone company to use community volunteer interpreters.

"Whether they're writing a traffic ticket or investigating a crime, every day Metro police officers deal with more and more Nashville residents who don't speak English."

"Hoping to bridge the gap between police and the rapidly growing Spanish-speaking population, police have teamed to create the 'Cricket El Protector Communication Program' to put 16 donated cell phones into the hands of volunteer translators."

"The partnership with cell phone provider Cricket Communications will put bilingual interpreters at the disposal of Metro police 24 hours a day."

"The volunteers receiving the new phones are all bilingual and have passed a translation test, Cricket officials said. They will be on call on a rotating basis. Officers can utilize their skills when dealing with non-felony incidents, such as making traffic stops, investigating accidents or responding to complaints from Hispanic households and businesses."

"Spanish-speaking officers still will be called on to do on-scene translation and handle major crimes, police officials said."

"Cricket officials decided to donate the mobile phones and service after an article in The Tennessean described some of the difficulties officers were having communicating with the local Hispanic and Latino community, said Alan Leser, the area general manager for Cricket Communications."

The Nashville City Paper also published this report.

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