DOJ: Hazleton Police Dept. to secure reliable means of communicating with Spanish-speaking population

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A settlement has been agreed upon after an investigation into language barriers within the Hazelton Police Department, according to a statement released Friday by the Department of Justice.

The department has agreed to secure appropriate and reliable means of communicating with the city’s Spanish-speaking population, the U.S. Department of Justice says.

Under the agreement reached, the DOJ says the Hazleton Police Department will soon release a new standard operating procedures that will require officers to provide appropriate language assistance.

“Timely and accurate communication between limited English proficient residents and police officers is essential to public safety,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Civil Rights Division. “The changes required by this agreement will benefit crime victims and witnesses, but also help police officers do their jobs. We are pleased that Hazleton’s City and Police Department leadership support improvements to police policy and practices on language services.”

The Justice Department investigated the department under the Title VI of the Civil Right Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin by those receiving federal assistance.

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