Connecting With The Hispanic Community: Efforts By Port Arthur Texas Police Department

Connecting With The Hispanic Community: Efforts By Port Arthur Texas Police Department

USA, January 29, 2021 / — There is no denying that several groups living in America undergo different challenges due to different barriers such as language and weak ties between communities. When it comes to seeking justice, such barriers become more significant as members of minority groups find it hard to communicate and feel at ease. This has been the case with many in the Hispanic community.

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Knowing this to be true, Lieutenant Frank Ramirez and Deputy Chief Michael Fratus of the Port Arthur Texas Police Department decided to take practical steps to better connect with the Hispanic community. The aim is to make the Hispanic community in Port Arthur feel included so they can confidently reach out for support when they need it.

What Prompted To Take Such Steps?
The reason behind the efforts of Deputy Chief Fratus and Lieutenant Ramirez is their years of observation and experience of how small segments of the community find it difficult to reach out even when they are victims.

Michael Fratus spent the early years of his life living in Spain, as his mother is from Spain. On the other hand, Ramirez is of Mexican descent and has a deep understanding of why the Hispanic community needs to bond with law enforcement. Ramirez shares:

“The Hispanic community is one that generally keeps to itself. Unfortunately, there is a fear of calling the police, even after they have become victims of crime. We need for that community to know that we are here to serve them; they are citizens of Port Arthur.”

The Steps Taken By Lieutenant Ramirez and Deputy Chief Fratus
Based on their experiences, they first outlined the major obstacles and what is being done to remove those barriers. The first step was to resolve the issue of the language barrier.
Report Filing in Spanish:
There is no doubt that the biggest and most obvious hurdle standing in the way of the Hispanic community was a language barrier. How can they get their problems across if they cannot communicate properly?

Attending to this issue, Fratus shares his own experience of the time when he began his career at Port Arthur as a police officer during his early years. Deputy Chief Michael Fratus states:

“I was the only officer assigned to patrol at the time that spoke Spanish. I requested to be assigned to patrol areas that were predominantly Spanish-speaking every day at work. If I was assigned to a different area, it was inevitable that I would be called to those areas regardless for translation.”

Fratus believes that there is an immense need to appoint Spanish-speaking officers so that a larger portion of the community can receive adequate services. And it is exactly what the Port Arthur, Texas Police Department is doing.

Not only is the department hiring Spanish speaking officers, but the department has created a video to explain to the Hispanic community members how to file a police report in Spanish easily, as you can see in this video;

Report filing in Spanish makes it easier for Hispanic community members to communicate their issues, report facts, and feel satisfied that what they wanted to tell has been heard and understood. This makes the work of the police department more efficient.

Hispanic Recruiting
How do you make a community feel like an equal member of society? One of the best ways to achieve this is by offering equal job opportunities. Ramirez and Fratus encourage members of the Hispanic community to come forward and join the Police force. This will be the best way to connect with the Hispanic community and make them feel like equal citizens.

According to Lieutenant Frank Ramirez, recruiting Spanish speaking will help expand the Police Department’s ability to better serve the citizens and bridge the gap in the community.

Regular meetings at The Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Business Council:
One of the steps taken is the active involvement with the Hispanic Business Council; a group within the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce. To ensure their efforts are fulfilled, Deputy Chief Michael Fratus and Lieutenant Frank Ramirez have become regular fixtures at the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Business Council meetings.

Deputy Chief Fratus recently delivered a speech in Spanish to a large Hispanic group in the Council’s inaugural Camino al Exitos series of presentations. He says:

“We are making greater efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community. Being involved with the Hispanic Business Council is one step in building those necessary relationships.”

Both Frank Ramirez and Michael Fratus believe that it is extremely crucial to reach out to the Hispanic community to make them feel like an active and vital member of society. Instead of waiting for them to connect with you, it is best to proactively engage them and let them know that they are equal members when it comes to citizens’ safety and protection.

Lieutenant Frank Ramirez explains:

“Our goal in community policing includes the entire community. We cannot wait for different members of our community to reach out to us. We must actively reach out and engage our member and let them know that they are our partners when it comes to the safety of our citizens.”

Final Words
No matter where you live, law and order are equal for all the citizens regardless of their age, sex, color, or background. However, communities belonging to different backgrounds sometimes face issues reaching out due to various factors.

Authorities at the Port Arthur Texas Police Department understand this notion and are taking active steps to make all the Port Arthur communities feel included and secure.

Connecting with the Hispanic community is a part of these efforts. Attending to the Hispanic community’s issues, Lieutenant Frank Ramirez and Deputy Chief Michael Fratus have taken and continue to take steps to ensure that the Hispanic community enjoys the confidence and trust that an American should when reaching out for justice.

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Frank Ramirez
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