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Memphis, Tn. – As the Latino population in Memphis grows so does their frustration with an inability to easily communicate with the city’s police department.

“It’s difficult to communicate from the moment you call 911, the moment a responding officer arrives to the moment an investigator takes your case,” said Mauricio Calvo with Latino Memphis is hopeful for change now that Mike Rallings is the permanent Police Director.

“The police director has given an incentive, to any officer of any race that passes a Spanish test
yesterday, the police were recruiting for the best in blue and we want more Latinos to become officers,”added Calvo.

However it’s easier said than done the department started offering incentives a year ago.

“They don’t feel comfortable calling police since they can’t tell them what is going on,”said Marlen Montoya.

Marlen Montoya knows that all too well. She’s a waitress at a restaurant in Berclair.
She says two weeks ago burglars shattered the front glass trying to break into the business. When police arrived her Spanish speaking boss, couldn’t communicate with officers.

“There’s not a lot of people who feel safe for the reason that they aren’t able to communicate if something happens,” said Montoya.

It’s something police and the community want to change.