BAY SHORE - Advocates for minorities gathered outside of Suffolk's 3rd Precinct in Bay Shore today, asking that police hire more interpreters in the wake of a critical report released by the U.S. Deparmtent of Justice (DOJ).
"Victims of domestic violence have been unable to file a report, to obtain orders of protection because of language barriers," says Cheryl Keshner, of the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition.
Last week, the DOJ sent a report to Suffolk County outlining steps that should be taken to improve relations between minority communities and police. For their part, county officials say many of the recommendations are already in place.
"For example, we've provided Spanish-language training to our police officers and our new recruits," says Deputy Police Chief Chris Bergold.
Critics, however, say it's not enough and that many members of Long Island's Latino community feel left out when it comes to police protection.
Suffolk police also say they have a class of Spanish-speaking recruits that will eventually be hired, and have telephones at every precinct that offer on-the-spot translations in dozens of languages.