County Police Need More Spanish Speaking Officers (Video)

UPDATED Montgomery County Police Department officials say they need more Spanish speaking officers in order to accommodate the rapidly growing Hispanic community.

In a MyMCMedia exclusive, two police officers talk about their experiences on the job and what led them to paying their own way to Peru in order to immerse themselves in the Spanish language.

Officer Brian Walburn spends countless hours helping the Montgomery County Police conduct more than 400 alcohol compliance checks at local restaurants and businesses each year.

But he says that something is standing in the way between him and the community.

“I am part of the alcohol initiative section and we currently have no officers on my unit which speak Spanish,” said Montgomery County Police Officer Brian Walburn, who is a part of the County’s alcohol unit.

So Officer Walburn, along with fellow Officer John Arsenault, reached out to Hispanic Liaison Blanca Kling who helped connect the officers with a program to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and culture.

“Both of them reached out to me to assist them to reach out to the Peruvian consulate to see how we can arrange for them to visit the police departments and have a network relationship with the Peruvian police officers,” Kling said.

Now the officers are taking a month off and paying their own way to Peru to spend time learning Spanish in order to better the community and serve Montgomery County’s rapidly growing Hispanic population.

“Just from the linguistics side of things we’ll be able to interact, we’ll be able to understand and get sensitive data that we need from on the scene from victims,” said Montgomery County Police Officer John Arsenault. “We’ll also be able to enforce law from different aspects as well so it works on both sides.”

Kling, who said that they’re putting an emphasis on hiring more bilingual officers, is hoping that the officers set an example for others in the department.

“Just the fact that they saw the need and they wanted to do something to better the relationship and the communications with the police department and with the community is great and I’m sure there will be more officers doing this because we can use all of the help that we can get,” Kling said.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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