Responders and dispatchers learning Spanish
| 11.27.2006 | 06:16:35 | Views: 2348 | ID:
November 27 '06: In many communities around the country there is a growing Spanish-speaking population. During emergencies or domestic situations, responders, 911 dispatchers and law enforcement officials sometimes have a hard time communicating with those who are affected or displaced.
The Associated Press reported that Spanish lessons and translation services are becoming more important for those in emergency response and law enforcement."Every day, emergency responders and law enforcement officers nationwide help non-English speaking people whose lives might be in immediate danger. The job is particularly challenging for small agencies in the South, which has seen a recent influx of Hispanic residents." Responding to the changing demographics, the AP reported, "Many dispatchers and officers are going out of their way to learn Spanish, recruit bilingual employees and buy translating technology as they adapt to changing demographics so they can continue to keep the community - and themselves - safe." Many 911 call center operators have felt the necessity to learn Spanish. "Over the last two years, there's been increasing demand nationwide for on-the-phone interpreters such as those provided by Monterey, Calif.-based Language Line Services. Spanish is the most requested language." In Georgia, one State Patrol Lt. gave his troopers $850 handhelds that could translate commands into several languages. In Houston County, Texas, Dennis Garrett, a firefighter taking Spanish classes told the AP, "It gets real hard to deal with because ... we don't know what the problem is beyond what we see."
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