Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, January 05, 2009

Enquirer: Translators will aid Norwood police

During our holiday hiatus, the Enquirer made an announcement on December 27 about some new technology that really wowed us. The Latino Educational Assimilation Resource Network, Inc. in Hyde Park donated 13 electronic translator devices to the NPD through a $4,000 grant from the Norwood Service League. These are not just ordinary text-based electronic translators; rather, they will enable our police officers to speak in English, then translate their words and broadcast them in Spanish. Likewise, when the speaker responds in Spanish, the device will translate their statements into English. One full-sized device will be at the police station and three others will be in police cruisers. Nine smaller, portable devices can be used outside the cruisers.

Mayor Williams told the Enquirer the devices will improve communication between police and Hispanics and reduce the possibility of misinterpretation by either side. NSL’s executive director Lupe Gonzalez Hoyt said the devices should encourage more Hispanics to contact police about crimes committed against them. She added, "Because of the language barrier, some are afraid to report crimes so they just suffer and bear the brunt of a difficult situation." While there’s no official estimate of the number of Hispanics living in Norwood, she said NSL works with about 100 local Hispanic families.

If this isn’t another example of NSL adding value to our community, we don’t know what is. Kudos to Lupe Gonzalez Hoyt and everyone else involved who brought this amazing technology to Norwood!