WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A shortage of Spanish-speaking officers has the Wichita Police Department seeking to boost its Hispanic ranks, but turnout at training academies shows there’s much work to be done before the force reflects the makeup of the community.
Though Hispanics now make up 15 percent of Wichita’s population, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/12jYy08) reports only 45 of the police department’s 602 employees are Hispanic, and only about 20 speak Spanish.
Police Capt. Jose Salcido says the city’s Hispanic population surged after a large hailstorm in 1993 brought roofing crews to town to repair or replace roofs. Many of the workers loved what they found, so they stayed and urged relatives to come there, too.
Officer Erik Guzman says Spanish-speaking residents often are relieved when an officer arrives who can converse with them.
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