Bilingual? HPD recruiting volunteer translators to ride along with officers

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HOUSTON — Are you fluent in a language other than English? If so, you just may be on the Houston Police Department's most wanted list!

"We're looking for volunteers that can speak fluent Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Urdu or Hindi," Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

On Monday, the department announced a new program called Communicators On Patrol, or C.O.P.

HPD is partnering with the University of Houston Downtown for C.O.P.  Applicants must be at least 18.

"The volunteers will board a police vehicle, assigned to partner up with a police officer, and respond to calls for service. And when the need arises, they will translate for that victim," Acevedo said. "The goals of the program is having non-police personnel, i.e. civilians, connect and maintain attain a high level of cooperation from non-English speaking members of the public."

Whether responding to calls from crime victims or witnesses, police need to get accurate info. In a city diverse as ours, though, the cops and the callers don`t always speak the same language. That`s where the trained fluent communicators can help.  "These volunteers have actually passed a background investigation with the Houston Police Department,  and these folks have said hey I want to make a difference.  They can actually help us deescalate and or prevent any type of misunderstanding."

Right now, about 30 people have qualified. The department hopes to grow the program.

So, do you think you've got the right stuff to be a C.O.P.?

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