Cops learn "Survival Spanish" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cops learn "Survival Spanish"

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August 26, 2003

Albany-- Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the population in Georgia. Now Police in Albany are learning to speak Spanish to be able to communicate better. They call it "Survival Spanish."

Albany Police Officers learning quick phrases in Spanish they need on the streets. Carlos Ortiz of the Georgia Police Academy travels the state teaching officers Survival Spanish. Ortiz said "Not so much talk about why you say the phrases the way you do. But giving the commands that will help make the job easier. Raise awareness effectively. Communicate with them."

 Police officers in Albany say they interact everyday with people who can not speak English. So this course is welcomed. Corporal Frank Herndon of the Albany Police said "This gives us at least a way to communicate with them. We do find there are so many who don't speak English."

20 Officers are taking the three-day crash course in Spanish, to help them better communicate with the fastest growing segment of the population.

Ortiz said "The officer is now doing their job better, only in Spanish. Now our Latin community, Spanish speaking community, are not as intimidated by the Police Officers, because they know they are doing their best to try and communicate and serve them."

Corporal Herndon is fluent in German. He is enjoying adding some Spanish to his languages, because he feels communication is a big part of Police work.

Many Albany Police Officers are also learning sign language to better communicate with hearing impaired people. They also have a number of people who can act as interpreters in several languages.

posted at 6:21 PM by jimw@walb.com