Police Officers Learn Language Lessons To Reach Spanish Population

The Spanish language is something some Moss Point police officers have heard many times before. But for the first time, they are learning to understand it.

"This is my first. It's a lot more to it than I thought it was," Moss Point Police Officer Tommy Nabb said.

The officers are learning the basics of the language. Their teacher, Eva Roithmayr, says by the time they finish the four-month course, they should be able to communicate with the Spanish speaking population a little better.

"If they are in an accident, for example, they will know enough to take these people to the hospital or whatever the need is," she said.

Officers say in the past, it has been difficult to communicate with someone who speaks Spanish, so learning the language is critical.

"We had one incident where we had a Spanish person on the east side of town," Officer Nabb said. "He was robbed, but we couldn't find out what was wrong because we couldn't translate."

Officers say they find themselves involved in more and more incidents like that these days because the Spanish-speaking population is growing at such a rapid pace.

"The work force is going in some areas, and they are either traveling through this area, or some are even living in Moss Point, and we interact with them a lot more now then we use to," Officer Lance Eubanks said.

"When we moved to this area 40 years ago, there were 12 Latin people in town, and we would know each other," Roithmayr said. "Every time I go to the supermarket, I hear people speaking in Spanish."

And these students say they can't wait to start applying what they learn to real life situations.

By Myya Durden