Westchester announces funding for language translation initiative for police
Westchester County officials launched an enhanced telephone language service today aimed toward bridging the language gap between international civilians and police.
County Executive George Latimer believes the investment will perform well.
"It's an intelligent use of money, and we can defend it because in any case where the victim or the witness speaks a language that we don't have knowledge of or access to, this helps us prosecute the crime properly,” says Latimer.
Officials say the new initiative will allow departments access to over 200 languages.
"Having the ability to get the specific information and get specific resources, that those persons need at that time of need just enhances what we have,” says Scarsdale Police Chief Andrew Matturro.
Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah, who assumed office in January 2021, is credited with launching the much-needed investment. “This really should help just make our criminal justice system more accessible, just a big part of a lot of the things we're doing in our office and initiatives we're doing across the county,” says Rocah.
Haitian Resource Center representative Myrlene Chauvette strongly believes the language line will be welcomed in her community.
“It is extremely important to know that in an emergency, there is not only someone who understands you, but understands your language, and can speak with you without needing someone to translate on your behalf,” says Chauvette. "It is an honor on this Haitian flag day to be a part of this program."
According to officials, nearly 37 out of 42 police departments in the county are using some sort of language translation service.