The Carrollton Police Department launched its first Spanish-speaking Citizens Police Academy on Wednesday.
A total of 18 residents showed up to the first class.
“We missed that a large portion of our community is Spanish speaking,” Police Chief Derick Miller said. “The idea was to mirror what we've done in the Citizen's Police Academy in an all-Spanish speaking format.”
Miller said there will be up to 14 officers facilitating the eight courses of the academy. He said he hopes to hold the Spanish-speaking academy twice a year like the department does with the English-speaking academy.
“There's a lot of energy that goes into marketing that, and you'll see the same amount of energy put into marketing a Spanish speaking Citizen's Police Academy,” Miller said. “When we get to class two, we'll hopefully have a waiting list. That's the goal, to get so popular that we have a waiting list.”
Police Information Manager Jolene DeVito said because of the turnout at the first class, Miller’s desire for a waitlist may not be too far in the future.
“I'm a firm believer in having our police department reflecting the community we serve,” Miller said. “A couple years ago, we created an effort to recruit Spanish-speaking police officers.”
The department currently has 19 Spanish-speaking police officers to help in community outreach with Hispanic residents.
“The police department is here to serve the community, and as far as we're concerned, the community is every single person who lives in the city of Carrollton,” Miller said. “This is a way to engage with our Spanish-speaking citizens with one goal in mind: to maintain trust in the community. They will trust us, and just like any member of the community, when they need us, and there is no trepidation or fear, they will call us and we'll be able to serve them like any of the other citizens in our city.”