Sunday December 2, 2018
With Regina’s population continuing to grow and get more diverse, Regina Police Service (RPS) is looking at increasing the amount of interpreters it has available to help their officers.
RPS have put out a call for people wanting to become language interpreters in a wide variety of languages including Arabic, Farsi and Somali.
Heather Shepard, cultural relations officer with the RPS, said they are running into situations where a language interpreter is needed.
She said a 911 system has access to an interpreter over the phone but issues can occur when an officer arrives at the scene or if there’s a traffic stop and there is a language barrier. They can also run into issues where they need translators to help people write police statements and to make sure they understand their rights, warnings and sometimes their notice of a court appearance.
Shepherd said there’s usually one case every week or so where an interpreter is needed. She said there has been a growing need for interpreters over the past five years or so.
“We had an investigative unit come to us looking for, at that time, an Arabic interpreter and then we also had a patrol come looking for a Somali interpreter.”
She said the RPS are doing the best they can with the limited amount of translators they have available.
“If it is an investigation and we’re able to set up a time with an interpreter to come in and assist that, of course that is better but that’s not realistic in the police world.”
So that’s part of the reason the RPS has put out the call for help to find people who might be available at different times.
“Make a pool of interpreters, especially if the availability is over night, you never know if a call comes in and you need an interpreter at three in the morning.”
There are some situations where an interpreter is unavailable or there are confidentiality issues so the RPS have had to go to other law enforcement agencies to ask for an interpreter. As a last resort, police do have access to a telephone service to help with the case.
Applications for the interpreter position can be found online. The application includes examples of forms or documents a translator would be most likely to encounter. It also includes a place where a person can describe their availability as the position is on an as-needed basis.
Shepherd said they have already seen a lot of people are willing to help, with over 70 applications already received.
“Hopefully we’ll get a few more, all different languages are welcome.”
Languages most in need for interpreters