Handling of Foreign Speakers by NYPD Gets Audit

By Kamika Dunlap on April 26, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Dept. of Justice will be auditing NYPD to review how it handles New Yorkers who don't speak English.

The routine audit by the federal government will look into whether language barriers affect the filing of complaints, emergency stops, arrests and crime prevention, the New York Times reports.

Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia police departments have all already been audited and New York City is next up.

The review lasts for six months, and invites feedback from the community and immigrant organizations. It will result in result in recommendations for improvements.

In 2005, the Dept. of Justice issued guidelines that all recipients of grants provide services to non-English speakers.

Currently, the NYPD has the largest number of foreign-language speakers of any police department in the country, police officials said. Living in a multicultural city requires officers to be ready to meet those needs.

In addition, linguists are also ready when 911 operators hear a caller speaking an unfamiliar language.

Still, the department says a review will only help to improve the way it interacts with foreign speakers.

In 2008, the department created a language access plan to guarantee immigrants a meaningful ability to take advantage of police services, the New York Times reports.

The police department uses the language access plan to ensure its website remains accessible to all people of New York City.

In addition, the plan allows the police to work with the Community Affairs Bureau's new Immigrant Outreach Unit to conduct an outreach informing immigrants and foreign language speakers of the interpretation services offered by the Department.

The ultimate goal of the audit will be to determine if the city's central police agency is complying with federal civil rights laws.

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