A representative within the Menlo Park Police Department has confirmed the department has begun to use technology in an effort to better communicate with non-English speaking residents.
The countywide community has become increasingly multilingual in recent years. A civil grand jury has recommended other law enforcement agencies within the county begin to follow suit. They are looking into whether it would be feasible to provide smartphones to officers in order to ensure they can access translation applications.
Some police department officials recognize that certain agencies already provide this type of technology to their officers. Others don’t need smart phones because they are able to access translation websites through wi-fi connections within their squad cars.
Not everyone is on board. Some do not feel it necessary to issue costly devices to their officers. This is due to many already having these types of devices for their personal use. Many of these individuals already access translation tools on their phones.
Some departments said they provide cellular devices to some but not all field employees. Other jurisdictions say they don’t see this as being an immediate need. Menlo Park Police Department officers are able to access the Internet in their patrol cars.
A civil grand jury has reportedly recommended all law enforcement employees be given tools that would help them better communicate with non-English speakers. Most of these officers do not speak the growing number of languages that are utilized by county residents. Translation services will help bridge those communication gaps.
The Menlo Police Department said the county demographic has changed drastically in the past 10 years and that they are committed to working to better serve the ever diversifying population.