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Building bridges: Bridgeport PD launches new Hispanic outreach program

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, December 5, 2018
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The Bridgeport Police Department is starting a new program next week aimed at improving outreach to the city’s Hispanic community.

The first meeting of the UNIDOS program is 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Outreach of Love – also known as Twin Oaks – Assembly of God Church at 300 Cates St.

Meetings will be held entirely in Spanish, and the intent of the program is to serve as a resource center that will provide assistance in areas of importance to the Hispanic community.

Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford said the program will allow for two-way communication with law enforcement.

“It’s more educational-based, not from a department standpoint of, ‘this is what we do.’ This is more like ‘how can you fit into the community better?,'” he said.

Three officers who are fluent in Spanish will coordinate the program, which is expected to hold meetings at least once a quarter.

Stanford said that unlike some public meetings where officers are seen standing around the edges of the group, officers will sit amongst the citizens.

“It’s really humanizing law enforcement and trying to show the public that we care and we want to listen to their needs,” he said. “So it’s very important for us to stand at the door, greet them and then sit amongst them.”

With a high percentage of Bridgeport’s population made up of Hispanics, including many who don’t speak English, Stanford said it’s important that they be able to communicate with that community.

“I want to make sure we communicate well with this group of individuals. We’re not here to arrest them or deport them. We’re here to do a job, and that is to provide them with the same services we do with all the other citizens,” Stanford said.

The first meeting will be an overview of the program and will feature Juan Almazan, who coordinates the UNIDOS program for the Grand Prairie Police Department.

Future meetings are expected to address a number of topics, including:

  • banking
  • Santa Cops
  • City of Bridgeport events
  • crime prevention/public safety
  • criminal investigation division
  • criminal justice system
  • cultural differences
  • day labor information
  • driver’s license/vehicle registration
  • environmental services/code enforcement
  • family violence resources
  • 911 information
  • fire department
  • immigration
  • insurance
  • K-9 program
  • Bridgeport Independent School District
  • Bridgeport Municipal Court
  • Bridgeport Parks and Recreation
  • police department activities
  • narcotics
  • Social Security

For information about the program, call Vanessa Medrano or Officer Marissa Martinez with Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430.

One Response to “Building bridges: Bridgeport PD launches new Hispanic outreach program”

  1. El Pulpo says:

    Is it true that Hillary Clinton is going to be there?

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