Tacoma police use translator app to help with emergency calls

Tacoma police are using a tool that will give them access to translators in hundreds of languages ​​to help with emergency response.

In an emergency, getting information quickly is vital. When the answering agents and the caller don’t speak the same language, it creates challenges.

In the past, agents used neighbors or even family members, such as children, to translate.

“A lot of these people are going through domestic violence, they may have been sexually assaulted or they may be other victims of a crime and we certainly don’t want the kids to have to interpret for something like that,” he said. said Lydia Zepeda.

Zepeda works at the Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The commission worked with the Tacoma Police Department to introduce a better way for officers to help people in crisis.

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Now all agents have access to Language Line Solutions, a translation app on their phone.

“Language Line {Solutions} enables the Tacoma Police Department to provide equitable service to all members of the community,” said Tacoma Police Department Officer Wendy Haddow.

The app offers translators for 240 different languages ​​with voice options and, for some languages, video chat options.

When you open the app, you can scroll or use the search function to find the language you are looking for.

“This app is really, really important,” Zepeda said.

She says this new tool makes it easier for people going through an emergency to be heard and get the help they need. She says it also protects children from having to be involved.

“It minimizes trauma,” she said.

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