Tulsa Police Trying To Strengthen Relationship With Hispanic Community

Sunday, October 21st 2018, 8:40 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police are working to bridge the gap between law enforcement and one of Tulsa's fastest growing populations.

With immigration front and center in recent months, officers say they want the Hispanic community to know they have a voice. Police say the Hispanic community makes up a quarter of Tulsa County's population and they say the fear of law enforcement in that community needs to be addressed. 

So at Encounter Church in Tulsa Police are reaching out to the Hispanic community in hopes of strengthening bonds between cops and citizens.

"We just want to make sure that the Spanish community understands that they have a voice," said TPD Officer Jairo Calle.

Officer Calle says only a few officers at TPD are bilingual, which is why he's been speaking to the community, trying to encourage youth to help build a more diverse police force.

"We need more Hispanic officers on the department and females in the department," said Officer Calle.

During the meeting on Sunday, many people discussed why fear is growing in the Hispanic community.

"A lot of people don't feel safe to call the cops," said Ulises Moreno.

"Some people will feel afraid to call the police because they will not be able to communicate because of the barrier of the language," said Meri Contreras.

He says because so many are afraid of getting deported, they're not reporting crimes that happen in their neighborhood, creating a problem for all parts of the city.

There's also not a Spanish Crime Stoppers line, making it even harder for many to report crimes. That's why he says it's so important to address this issue.

"Don't be scared to call the police. If you're a victim of a crime or have information on a crime call us," said Officer Calle.

"We want to be part of this community. We want to grow as Tulsa's growing with it," said Contreras