Valley Law Enforcement

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How does the number of Latino police officers compare to the Latino populations of Valley cities? We’ll take a look at the numbers.

José Cárdenas: PHOENIX'S NEW POLICE CHIEF, JERI WILLIAMS, SAYS HER TOP PRIORITY IS COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND HIRING NEW OFFICERS. THE DEPARTMENT MUST ALSO RECRUIT OFFICERS THAT REFLECT THE GROWING LATINO POPULATION. PRODUCER AND VIDEOGRAPHER KATIE BIERI FOUND THAT WHILE THE NUMBER OF LATINOS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS GROWN ACROSS THE VALLEY THERE IS STILL A CONSIDERABLE GAP BETWEEN THE PERCENTAGE OF LATINOS IN THE POPULATION AND THEIR REPRESENTATION ON THE FORCE.

Katie Bieri: OFFICERS SLOWLY ADVANCE TOWARD THEIR TARGETS IN THIS CASE PAPER CRIMINALS. IT IS PART OF A WEEK LONG TRAINING COURSE OFFERED BY GILBERT POLICE. THE DEPARTMENT TAKES PRIDE IN TRAINING ITS OFFICERS. IT IS ALSO AMONG THE BEST WHEN IT COMES TO RECRUITING LATINOS. LIKE ALL VALLEY POLICE DEPARTMENTS, THEY STRUGGLE WITH BUILDING A DIVERSE POLICE FORCE. WE CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS AND FOUND OUT THAT THE PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT IS WORST IN THE COUNTY WHEN YOU COMPARE THE SHERIFF LATINO OFFICERS TO THE CITY'S LATINO POPULATION.

Sgt. Mercedes Fortune: EVERYTHING THAT WE STRIVE FOR IS TO MAKE SURE OUR COMMUNITIES ARE REPRESENTS WITHIN OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY. SO, THAT IS OUR BIGGEST GOAL.

Katie Bieri: SERGEANT MERCEDES FORTUNE SAID THE SIX-YEAR HIRING FREEZE MADE THAT GOAL ATTAINMENT HARDER.

Magdalena Schwartz: THIS IS MY WORK AND MY MISSION.

Katie Bieri: THIS IS EAST VALLEY EPISCOPAL CHURCH. SHE LEADS REGULAR MEETINGS LIKE THIS TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN LATINOS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. HER TWIN SISTER TRANSLATED.

Magdalena Schwartz: CONNECT THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY WHEN THEY ARE AFRAID WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT BECAUSE I THINK WE CAN HAVE A SAFE COMMUNITY.

Katie Bieri: THE SISTERS ARE BOTH CHILEAN IMMIGRANTS AND MOVED TO THE VALLEY 20 YEARS AGO. SHE ENCOURAGES ALL AREA POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO HIRE MORE HISPANICS.

Detective Lily Duran: I THINK IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT FOR OUR OFFICERS TO REFLECT THE COMMUNITIES THAT WE SERVE BECAUSE THAT HELPS US AS OFFICERS BE ABLE TO CONNECT.

Katie Bieri: LARGE AND SMALL POLICE DEPARTMENTS RELY ON POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO REPORT AND HELP SOLVE CRIMES.

Commander Rich Slavin: I HAVE AT LEAST ONE OFFICER ON EVERY SHIFT THAT IS FLUTE IN SPANISH.

Katie Bieri: COMMUNITY POLICING MEANS CREATING A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE OFFICERS AND ALL THE PEOPLE THEY PROTECT AND SERVE.

José Cárdenas: SOME DEPARTMENTS OFFER INCENTIVE PAY FOR OFFICERS WHO LEARN OR SPEAK A SECOND LANGUAGE.

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