[lg policy] New York Police Department's Language Policy Unfair To Latino Officers, Group Claims

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 26 14:41:47 UTC 2013

 NYPD's Language Policy Unfair To Latino Officers, Group Claims

By: Jon Weinstein

  *A group on Tuesday urged the city's police department to roll back a
policy requiring English to be the only language spoken while officers are
on duty. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.*

A group representing Latino NYPD officers says it could be something as
simple as saying "hola" instead of hello inside one of the city's
precincts. They say officers are being reprimanded for violating what they
call a discriminatory department policy that requires speaking English only
while officers are on duty.

"We are talking about conversations between officers while they are in the
precinct, while they are in sector cars, while they are working: A common
practice for any other officer to talk to each other in any other language
that is comfortable to themselves," said Anthony Miranda of the National
Latino Officers Association.

They point to a specific incident involving an officer at the 24th
precinct, who received a memo reminding her to speak only in English, after
her supervisors cited her for speaking Spanish to a fellow officer while on

"We're talking about casual talking, like you and I are talking, why would
you be reprimanded for that?" said Claudius DeFrancesco of the National
Latino Officers Association.

According to the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, "A rule
requiring that employees speak only English on the job may violate (federal
law) unless an employer shows that the requirement is necessary for
conducting business."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the NYPD complies with the law and that
employees are notified of the policy. He calls it common sense.

"If you walk into a police station and you hear people speaking a language
among themselves other than English, it certainly could be at the very
least disconcerting, and not necessarily a signal that you're there to
assist," Kelly said.

The National Latino Officers Association says it's aware of nine cases in
which Latina officers have been cited for violating the policy. They claim
English-only reprimands are being used as retaliation for other
discrimination complaints.

It's calling on any other officers who feel like they were unfairly
reprimanded to come forward.

Kelly says there have been no reprimands and that the NYPD has only sent
memos reminding members of the department of the requirement to speak
English on the job.


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