A little more than half of the Dallas Police Department’s 400-plus Hispanic officers – 231 – get paid a language benefit for speaking Spanish, says the Dallas Morning News. Thirteen non-Hispanic officers get paid the language benefit for speaking Spanish. That means fewer than 10 percent of the department’s 2,900-plus officers are considered fluent Spanish speakers.
With such a small number of fluent Spanish speakers, some worry that the department may not be adequately serving its Spanish-speaking residents. Of Dallas’ roughly 1.2 million residents, about 40 percent are Hispanic – nearly twice as many as there were in 1990. Some cases take longer to solve because it takes twice as long to interview victims and witnesses when the information needs to be translated. In an effort to solve murder cases faster, the department last week created a task force of seven Spanish-speaking homicide detectives who will be on call around the clock. They will be sent to crime scenes involving Spanish-speaking victims to talk to witnesses and family members.