South Georgia needs bilingual officers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia needs bilingual officers

February 16, 2007

Tifton - As one of two Spanish speaking officers at the Tifton Police Department...Freddy Amaya learned his services could be life saving.

And he learned it while responding to one of his first calls.  "There's this big tall grass, taller then me about 10 feet tall.  And I'm just walking and I stepped on something.  And I backed up and whoever it was popped out," Freddy says.

Things quickly escalated.  "My training officer was saying, let me see your hands, what you got in your hands?  Get up!  Get on the floor and don't move."

With guns drawn, the man was about to start running, when Freddy realized he spoke Spanish and started shouting commands.  "Then he paid attention.  He understood what I was telling him and instead of running, he laid on the floor and we arrested him," Freddy adds.

His brother, the second bilingual officer at TPD has had many similar situations and realizes what an asset they are to the department.  "It's like having two officers because you are speaking Spanish and then you're speaking English," says Blamori Amaya.

And Chief James Smith is happy to have their assistance.

He says with the Hispanic population growing, the lack of bilingual officers in South Georgia is a problem.

One he's trying to fix by recruiting officers from local schools like ABAC.  "wWe go to the different job fairs, schools, we talk to the Hispanic population, the students at the high school and we try to encourage people to choose law enforcement as a career," Chief Smith says.

He hopes to soon recruit more bilingual officers in areas of need.  "Tifton's not only Hispanic, we are starting to get Cambodians, people from China and from the Bahamas," he adds.

And let the community know, if they need assistance, no matter what language they speak, the police can help.

The Moultrie Police Department also is recruiting from local college and offer incentives for bilingual officers who join the department.  In Berrien County, the Sheriff is sending several deputies to Spanish Classes.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=BilingualOfficers

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Couple receives 2017 Tree Stewardship Award

    Couple receives 2017 Tree Stewardship Award

    Monday, July 24 2017 4:37 PM EDT2017-07-24 20:37:43 GMT
    The Strom couple received the 2017 Tree Stewardship Award. (Source: WALB)The Strom couple received the 2017 Tree Stewardship Award. (Source: WALB)

    An Albany couple is receiving praise for bringing life to their plantation through nature. Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful and the Albany Tree Board presented Kay and Walter Strom with the 2017 Tree Stewardship Award on Monday.  

    More >>

    An Albany couple is receiving praise for bringing life to their plantation through nature. Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful and the Albany Tree Board presented Kay and Walter Strom with the 2017 Tree Stewardship Award on Monday.  

    More >>
  • Call for foster parents, orientation Tuesday

    Call for foster parents, orientation Tuesday

    Monday, July 24 2017 4:26 PM EDT2017-07-24 20:26:50 GMT
    Now is the time to attend a foster parent orientation. (Source: WALB)Now is the time to attend a foster parent orientation. (Source: WALB)

    The number of foster children in South Georgia is sky high, but the number of foster parents is not. The Lutheran Services of Georgia are helping foster parents get started.  

    More >>

    The number of foster children in South Georgia is sky high, but the number of foster parents is not. The Lutheran Services of Georgia are helping foster parents get started.  

    More >>
  • Grill lighter cause of Ramsey Road fire

    Grill lighter cause of Ramsey Road fire

    Monday, July 24 2017 3:48 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:48:41 GMT
    Officials said the fire started in the bedroom of the home. (Source: WALB)Officials said the fire started in the bedroom of the home. (Source: WALB)

    A young boy is believed to have started a fire on Ramsey Road. According to the incident report from the Albany Fire Department, the fire started in the bedroom.

    More >>

    A young boy is believed to have started a fire on Ramsey Road. According to the incident report from the Albany Fire Department, the fire started in the bedroom.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly