Breaking down barriers

As Columbia Heights becomes even more diverse, police make efforts to break down cultural and language barriers.

According to The Star Tribune, Al Kordiak, the former chairman of the Anoka County Board, referred to the city as a melting pot. "The ethnic groups change, but the city doesn't. We've always opened our arms to immigrants," Kordiak told Paul Levy of The Star Tribune.

The city's police department is now working in conjunction with the city's school and judicial district to help new resident's to the community connect, reported Levy. City officials will be meeting with a Hispanic church congregation to discuss concerns relating to the police.

According to Levy, routine interactions with police, like the act of getting pulled over for speeding, may seem frightening to new immigrants. The police force wants to relieve these fears.

City official hope that the city's growing Somali community can also benefit from these new programs and that the program will also help police better understand new residents dealing with language and cultural differences.

"We value other people's customs," said Police Chief Scott Nadeau. "They, in turn, want a place where they fell valued and accepted. We want to embrace diversity."

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This page contains a single entry by published on December 16, 2010 8:43 AM.

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