Local News

Latino leaders meet with Durham's mayor, chief of police to address language barriers

Saturday, Latino leaders met with Durham's new Police Chief and Public Safety Director to talk about the crimes that go unreported because of the lack of Bilingual personnel in both departments.

Posted Updated

Leslie Moreno
, WRAL multimedia journalist
DURHAM, N.C. — Spanish-speaking residents said their inability to communicate effectively with law enforcement is impacting crime in Durham.

Ivan Parra with NC Congress of Latino Organizations said they received about 400 complaints about the city's lack of bilingual employees.

“We conducted listening sessions throughout the community and that was the main concern,” said Parra.

Parra said it's hard for Spanish speakers to report crimes and cooperate with police.

“Sometimes the members of our community witness crimes that affect not them but others in the community and they need to be able to communicate with somebody about those situations,” said Parra.

Those concerns were brought to the mayor, city council and chief of police Sunday.

Residents and other local leaders attended the meeting in hopes of a solution.

The meeting ended with a couple of solutions, which included hiring bilingual city employees and giving bonuses to bilingual employees who are already employed.

Community members like local pastor Herbert Davis said they felt like this was a step in the right direction, but it has to be more than words.

“The question then becomes how do we hold them accountable and make sure that they don’t just say 'yes we’re going to do this' and then we look up a year later' oh we didn’t get to it',” said Davis.

There will be another followup meeting in the coming months to see how things are moving along.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.