The political and community clamor against the NYPD’s English-only policy is getting louder in the wake of today’s Daily News report that nine Hispanic officers have been reprimanded for speaking Spanish on the job.
Our Jennifer Fermino reports:
“With a fast-growing Latino population in the city, the NYPD should be supporting the efforts of police officers to protect public safety by communicating in Spanish,” said Javier Valdes, the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a Latino immigrant advocacy organization.
He fears the policy could make the city less safe because bilingual officers won’t be able to communicate with each other in a language used to report a significant number of crimes.
“Sometimes, it’s better to have that statement in the language it was spoken,” he said.
“We should not be impeding communication.”
The policy forbids officers from speaking with each other in any language other than English, though they can do so to communicate with members of the public.
One Upper West Side police officer was written up for speaking a single sentence in Spanish while on duty.
Antonio Reynoso – who is challenging disgraced lawmaker Vito Lopez for a Council seat in Bushwick-Williamsburg – said his community is “disgusted” with the policy, which the Daily News first reported on Monday.
“What the NYPD is doing is indefensible,” said Reynoso, a Democrat.
He, along with Democratic City Council candidates Carlos Menchaca – who is challenging incumbent Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez in Brooklyn – and Ritchie Torres, who is vying for Councilman Joel Rivera’s Bronx seat (updated), all urged the NYPD to abolish the policy.
Torres called it “discrimination of the worst kind” and blasted Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for defending it.
“This is the same NYPD that brought us an out-of-control stop and frisk policy that forces officers to meet higher and higher quotas,” he said.
“Immigrant communities and communities of color have had it with the racial profiling and targeting based on what we look like and how we speak.
City Comptroller and Democratic mayoral contender John Liu also called for the city to end the policy: “English-only policies limit the full capacity of New York City’s most vital agencies – including the NYPD.”
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