Volunteer Interpreters Needed for New Eagle County Law Enforcement Interpreter Program

December 6, 2012

Chief Dwight Henninger, 479-2210
Vail Police Chief
Megan McGee Bonta, 949-0405
Services Coordinator, Catholic Charities

(Vail)--The Eagle County Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee is recruiting volunteer interpreters to be part of a new program in which they will assist law enforcement with on-site interpretation at emergencies and community events. The interpreters will be provided a full day training to take place on Jan. 26 at the Avon Library and will become Vail Police Department volunteers. The committee is hoping to recruit interpreters for numerous languages. Interested potential volunteers should contact Megan Bonta at Catholic Charities at 949-0405 or at mbonta@ccdenver.orgfor more information and to register. There will also be an open house information session for interested volunteers from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Avon Library.

The need for the volunteer interpreters has become apparent in Eagle County, as more members of the immigrant community are beginning to become comfortable reporting crimes to law enforcement, according to Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger. Even someone who speaks English will often revert to their native language when put in a highly stressful situation. While the Vail Communications Center accessed Language Line interpretation services for 470 calls for 10 languages in 2011, it can be difficult to build trust and support for victims via telephone interpretation.  By having volunteer interpreters, law enforcement will be better able to build trust and communication between themselves and non-native English speakers.
This group will be used to assist with the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championship in addition to assisting in law enforcement related incidents and cases.
The Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee consists of representatives of the immigrant community in Eagle County who meet on a regular basis with representatives from the six law enforcement agencies located in the county. This group works to provide resources and information through education and outreach to build trust and collaboration with the immigrant community.  Participating agencies include the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Police Department, Basalt Police Department, Minturn Police Department, Avon Police Department, Eagle Police Department, Catholic Charities, Bright Future Foundation, Salvation Army, Eagle County School District, The Youth Foundation, and Eagle County.

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