Latino outreach: Police purchase bilingual translation devices
FONTANA City and police officials are hoping 20 new wireless translation devices will help in creating better relationships within the community.
Fontana police purchase 20 translation devices
A goal-setting workshop earlier this month revealed there should be Spanish-speaking community meetings to address the issue and to assist in increasing resident participation and communication with law enforcement.
Fontana Police Department purchased the wireless translation devices for $3,000 that would be available to use at all city department meetings starting in March, with plans to follow recommendations to have the Spanish language meetings while offering translation services, police officials said.
"This will help if they wanted to sit in City Council meeting, and now they can get more involved," said Fontana Councilman Jesus Sandoval,who brought up the issue at the Feb. 1 workshop.
"They can listen to the meeting in their own language, and if they wanted to make a comment they can now make their own remark."
Police Chief Rodney Jones said communication with residents is the department's and City Council's top priority, especially when dealing with public safety issues.
"We are very excited as a department to have the tools to break down language barriers and get more participation," Jones said in a department news release.
The wireless devices consist of a transmitter, microphone, receiver, headphones and ear phones, Jones said.
A bilingual translator will speak into the microphone and translate what is being spoken, Jones said.
Fontana's Hispanic population is about 66 percent, according to the latest census figures, the news release says. In a previous interview after the goal setting meeting, Councilwoman Lydia Wibert said 50 percent of the Fontana Unified School District's students are Hispanic.
Wilbert is a child welfare and attendance liaison with the school district.
"I think this will be another tool to engage the community, and I'd also like it to be offered to other ethnic groups with language barriers," she said. "Any type of tool to engage the public to pursue a better community is a great tool and asset for us all the way around."
The city's next community meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Palmetto Elementary School, 9325 Palmetto Ave.
By Canan Tasci
(c)2014 the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.)
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