Sherman police starting new Hispanic outreach program

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Sherman police want Spanish speakers in the community to not be afraid of them.

A couple months ago, Sherman police chief Zachary Flores was in touch with Hispanic leaders in the community who said they were fearful of police.

He spoke with a police officer in Grand Prairie who had implemented a program to build relationships with a community that he says is often forgotten due to a language barrier--the Hispanic population.

"It's intended to support the Hispanic community with things that can better lives," said officer Spencer Nelson.

Nelson is bilingual and will help host the program.

It's something he said gives him a new perspective while on patrol.

"Many times, you go on traffic stops, and there is a lack of communication," Nelson said.

The program is called Unidos-- the Spanish word for United.

The goal is to start the conversation between cops and the 14 percent of locals who speak Spanish in Sherman.

They want to tell that community what to do if they're pulled over, and police want to hear what that community needs from law enforcement.

"Our first meeting is about traffic stops," Nelson said. "There's gonna be an officer there telling them what to do."

The meetings are quarterly-- the first one hosted July 23.

Police said people who are in the country illegally will not get deported if they come.

"The end whole goal is to get them to say what they wanna learn from law enforcement side to school side or whatever information they want to know," Nelson said.

Locals we spoke with hope it bridges the cultural divide.

The first meeting is July 23 at 6 p.m. in the Sherman city council chambers. Everyone is welcome.

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