LONG ISLAND - The Suffolk County Police Department has had a presence on social media for years, but now officials are expanding it by offering Spanish-language content on a new page as a way to help strengthen ties with the Latino community.
“We’ve had great success with English-language social media,” said SCPD Chief of Department Stuart Cameron, who has begun learning Spanish himself. “But we weren’t adequately addressing our Spanish-speaking residents.”
The goal of the new page is to help residents born in other countries by educating them on how the department operates.
Local activists say that they are pleased with the change, but that more face-to-face work needs to be done.
“It’s not about promoting what they’re doing, it’s about building this dialogue or facilitating a conversation,” said community activist Margarita Espada.
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The Suffolk County Police Department has been working on its language accessibility over the last several years. Seventy-seven of the department’s more than 2,000 officers are classified fluent in Spanish.
“I hope it’ll bridge the gap to allow those from other countries where law enforcement is very different to learn more about our department and be less fearful,” Cameron said.
This year, the department plans to finish installing tablets in all of its marked patrol cars to assist officers with translation services within the community.