June 30, 2003 -- Posted at: 10:23 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A new state law will require the state's law enforcement officers to learn the basics of a foreign language. In Arkansas, that means many officers will be learning some simple phrases in Spanish so they can communicate better with the growing Hispanic community.
Officials with northwest Arkansas departments say they've been offering the language training informally for a few years.
Under Act 1207, departments will be required to offer annual foreign language training. Officers won't be required to become fluent, but it will help them say important commands to people in the community who don't speak English.
Officials say the mandate will help officers become less reliant on the few bilingual officers in each department.