PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Paragould Police Department is learning Spanish to improve their relationship with the Hispanic community.
Hispanic Community Services Inc. in Jonesboro is helping them to do that.
Gina Gomez with HCSI said Paragould police contacted them about taking a basic Spanish class and they were happy to help.
"They have seen the Hispanic community grow in the area and they thought that it was important for the police department to try to increase the communication," Gomez said.
The center is providing a 16-hour course for the department.
About 15 officers are taking the class and Gomez said they are very committed to it.
"I am really impressed with the commitment from them and the interest in learning the language," she said.
Gomez believes more departments should work to communicate better with minorities.
"Many times you find people doing wrong things just because they are not educated in the law," Gomez said. "There are many differences between the law in the United States and the law in our Hispanic countries. So I think that improving communication between the different police departments and the community is fundamental at this time."
She also said it builds trust with Spanish-speakers when they see officers working hard to communicate with them.
HCSI's courses can be tailored to other first responders or professional groups that want to learn basic Spanish.
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