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City’s Adoption of BPD Language Access Plan

As the city’s non-English speaking ethnic populations continue to flourish, the Buffalo Police Department has initiated a Language Access Plan in order to alleviate potential social barriers. The plan includes a number of service options that will be rolled out, such as Language Line telephone service, Bilingual BPD Members, Civilian Interpreters, and professional contract services with in-person interpretation.

“Buffalo has a very long history of welcoming newcomers and we want our City to get even better at helping immigrants build a good and fruitful life here.  Part of that involves building strong ties between law enforcement and all of Buffalo’s diverse communities. The BPD and I are committed to building those good relationships. We’re committed to listening to the needs of our City residents, and we’re committed to working together in addressing issues that affect safety and well-being,” stated Mayor Byron Brown.

This was a grassroots effort from our newest Americans to positively bring about change to our government.

Council President and Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen stated, “We first heard about a language access plan a little less than a year ago when over 50 members of the refugee and immigrant community came before the Common Council to advocate for this policy. We are here today to turn that advocacy into policy. I applaud Mayor Brown and his administration for adopting a language access plan for the Police Department and I thank community for bringing this issue to our attention and for working with us to make effective change.”

Majority Leader and Niagara District Council Member David Rivera said, “I thank Mayor Brown, Commissioner Derenda and the Administration for their new policy on language access. It is our duty to provide access for City services and to eliminate barriers to these services, and this language access plan is a positive step towards being a fully-accessible City government. I also commend the refugee and immigrant community. They organized and collaborated to advocate for fair treatment and presented a plan to the Common Council and the Administration. This was a grassroots effort from our newest Americans to positively bring about change to our government. It is a beautiful example of how to affect local government policy and they should be celebrated for this accomplishment.”

The plan is intended to be proactive on the language barrier issue. Already a series of workshops are underway, designed to inform the refugee and immigrant communities about the language services. The effort is being led by community groups, the City’s Office of New Americans and the Buffalo Police Department.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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