Suffolk PD reaches Latino community outreach agreement with Justice Department

Immigrants leaders say the agreement is a step in the right direction.

Immigrants leaders say the agreement is a step in the right direction. (12/4/13)

YAPHANK - A settlement has been reached between Suffolk police and the Justice Department that aims to improve outreach to Latinos.

The agreement comes after claims of police discrimination following the stabbing death of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue. The 27-page agreement wraps up a four-year investigation of Lucero's 2008 death.

The Justice Department looked into allegations by minorities in the community that police were not responsive to their complaints. Advocates had said there was a climate of fear in the area.

The agreement says that the Suffolk County Police Department needs to retrain officers, track hate crimes and reports of police discrimination, assign bilingual liason officers to all seven precincts and meet with Latino and other immigrant community leaders.

Immigrants leaders say this agreement is a step in the right direction, but that it stops short of pointing out specific problems within the police department.

The U.S. Justice Department says it did not find any specific problems with the Suffolk Police Department's previous policies.

The Suffolk County Legislature still has to approve the settlement before it can go into effect.

For SCPD policies to limit racial discrimination, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612. 

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