Police, Firefighters Hold Festival for Hispanic Community

5-6-06 – Police and firefighters in Durant are working with local Hispanic group leaders to help build better relationships within the growing community.

Police and firefighters organized a community soccer match and festival with help from the pastor at the Primera Iglesia Bautista Church. Authorities say it is a chance to get through language and cultural barriers, and build better relationships.

Police say they want members in the Hispanic community to learn to report crimes without fear of retaliation. Officers say a better relationship is key to helping fight the war on drugs and crime. Officers say they hope more people will begin to step forward and report crimes in their neighborhoods.

In 2000, about 3.6% of the population was Hispanic. This year, about 5% of people in Durant call themselves Hispanic.

Since last September, the Durant police chief held open meetings at the Primera Iglesia Bautista Church every other month to address issues of citizenship and following local laws.