by Laura Camilo
Last Friday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department welcomed 70 new officers to the force. The 159th graduating class was not only one of the largest to date, but also one of the most diverse, as reported by The Charlotte Observer. The class included seven Spanish-speaking officers, six of whom have Hispanic origins; specifically, Colombian, Dominican, Ecuadorian, and Puerto Rican. In an article published this week, Spanish-language newspaper Mi Gente credits newly appointed police chief Rodney Monroe with the increased diversity among recruits. Monroe acknowledged that having more Spanish-speaking officers is good news for the community. This is not the first time Monroe has reached out to Charlottes Latino community. According to the aforementioned article:
Como parte de su iniciativa de establecer lazos de confianza con la comunidad inmigrante, en diciembre pasado Monroe estableció el Comité de Alcance a la Comunidad liderado por el mayor Diego Anselmo.
El comité cuenta entre sus filas con 24 oficiales seleccionados entre las 13 divisiones policiales para trabajar directamente con los hispanos.
[Translation: As part of his initiative to establish close ties with the immigrant community, last December Monroe established the Community Outreach Committee, led by (University City Division) Mayor Diego Anselmo.
The committee counts within its ranks 24 officers selected from 13 divisions to work directly with Hispanics.]
Monroe is right to hire officers more representative of the city's changing demographics. The CMPD has seen its fair share of controversy regarding its rocky relationship with the Latino community; policies such as 287(g) have created distrust between officers and Latino civilians. Although organizations like the one headed by officer Anselmo and the Latino Citizen Committee strive to alter the nature of this relationship, having officers being trained to patrol communities they already have an innate understanding of will hopefully be a progressive step in sealing the ever-widening split.