Judicial Watch • Police Accused Of Not Providing Adequate Translation Services

Police Accused Of Not Providing Adequate Translation Services

Police Accused Of Not Providing Adequate Translation Services

NOVEMBER 30, 2010

Rhode Island State Police violate the rights of suspects who don’t speak English by failing to provide adequate translation services, according to a new complaint aimed at weakening the department’s immigration enforcement powers.

Under a local-federal partnership known as 287(g), Rhode Island state troopers are authorized to enforce immigration laws and officers routinely check immigration status during traffic stops and in cases of other minor offenses. This upsets the influential and politically-connected open borders movement which has pushed hard to eliminate the program nationwide.

In this case, Rhode Island’s principle law enforcement agency is being accused of providing oral interpretation and translation services that are “inadequate or of questionable quality.” A 10-page complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice says the police department has failed to adequately assess the needs of the state’s significant limited English-speaking population.

This failure to sufficiently communicate effectively leads to unequal access to benefits, services and risks the legal rights of non-English speakers, according to the famously liberal civil rights group that filed the complaint. It also violates a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires agencies that receive federal funding to implement a four-factor analysis to determine the scope of interpreter services needed.

Rhode Island Police has never conducted such an analysis of the state’s limited English population, according to the complaint, nor does it plan to. Furthermore, there is no evidence that state police employs any staff interpreters and the agency didn’t indicate the “level of language ability” of employees who do speak Spanish.

The attorney for the Rhode Island State Police said in a local news report that some troopers are bilingual and translation services are readily available for those who need them. She called the complaint “an affront” to the department, which “has prided itself on community outreach, building bridges in the community and gauging minority populations.”

 

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