March 9, 2014
HARRISONBURG-- On Tuesday night, city council members will consider a grant that would help police officers provide more services to the city's Latino community. It would be called the Latino Neighborhood Education and Prevention Initiative.
The cost of the grant is nearly $580,000. As part of it, police would work with the Latino population to try build trust to try to prevent crimes in majority Latino population neighborhoods.
The grant would also create two positions, including a community resource officer, and a bi-lingual community officer. The two would work with advocacy groups to shape police practices to better serve the community.
The proposal says police respond to way fewer calls than they think there actually should be. A local volunteer believes increased communication could make the area safer. "I really believe that the way to approach building a safer community, creating relationships between our community actually helps our law enforcement do their jobs more effectively. It keeps our law enforcement officers safer," said Rick Castaneda.
Barriers between police and the Latino community include language, and concerns about immigration status.