Friday, June 23, 2006

Metro PD recruits Spanish-speaking clergy volunteers

Metro Police Nashville Davidson CountyThe Tennessean reports in this article that the Metro Nashville Police Department has recruited ten volunteer chaplains to interact with Spanish-speakers at crime scenes. The department requested clergy volunteers in January (story here) to comfort and advise witnesses and family members of victims, freeing up police for more official duties. A total of fifty volunteer chaplains assist with other police work, according to the article.

"Without [an interpreter], it's hard for a Spanish-speaking family to understand why a loved one's body must stay at the crime scene and what happens at the coroner's office."

"These are the types of questions the Metro Police Department's chaplains usually answer when they accompany officers for death notifications. Members of the volunteer program hope they can now give better answers to the city's Hispanic families through the help of 10 Spanish-speaking chaplains who enrolled in the program."

Metro Police have been overcoming language and cultural barriers by launching programs like "El Protector" (story here), assuring witnesses that their immigration status will not be an issue when they help police solve crimes (story here), hosting community forums (story here), and sending officers to Spanish classes (story here).

Focus: Justice

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