The Storm Lake Police Department is one of six in the United States being recognized for creating programs that help officers communicate more effectively with non-English speaking residents. Storm Lake Public Safety Director Mark Prosser explains how they came to be set aside from some 200 other agencies nationwide.
Prosser says they were contacted by the U.S. Department of Justice early this year and were asked about the community’s demographics and how the police department is dealing with language barriers. Prosser believes Storm Lake was selected because of the police department’s community service officers and overall operation.
Prosser says, "We’re quite flattered and it’s all about our staff…doing the best we can to serve a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual population." For many years, the department has employed two community service officers, a Laotian and a Mexican, who provide many services to the city’s large ethnic populations, including translation and ordinance enforcement.
On Tuesday, Prosser participated in a live nationwide webcast on strategies to help law enforcement agencies overcome language barriers.