Agencies working together to strengthen relationship with the Hispanic community

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and various local leaders are looking at different ways to strengthen the relationship between police officers and the Hispanic community.

Chaplain Gerson Cardona, who is also a faculty member at Crossroads Bible College, said this has been something various agencies have been working on for years. Cardona said the mission gained more momentum.

“We are sending a message to the pastors to the business leaders (and) to the Spanish community that our authorities are ready and we must be ready,” Cardona said.

Chaplain Cardona and IMPD Patrol Officer Rafael Diaz are working together with many other people to find a way for IMPD and the Hispanic community to connect.

“I believe it’s time to commit and try it out,” Cardona said.

Chaplain Cardona believes everyone needs to keep we need to trust each other, have honesty and acceptance.

“They have to trust the community and the community has to trust them,” Chaplain Cardona said.

IMPD acknowledged more needs to be done and they would like to make changes.

“One of the things that we’re noticing is (a) hesitation with(in) that community to call us and we want them to call us,” Diaz said.

Diaz said their message to everyone is that they are here to help.

“We want to help everyone. (We want to help) everyone that’s in danger. We want to help. (It) doesn’t matter what your race is,” Diaz said.

Diaz said they do not know 100 percent the types of crimes happening within the Latino community because it is not being reported.

“We’ve heard different reasons why that is and building these partnerships we hope that we can start to tear down those walls and start having a conversation with them,” Diaz said.

Chaplain Cardona and Officer Diaz want to spread the message they are searching for strong partnerships.

“It’s up to us. It’s up to the community. My challenge is going to be a harder one because I’m taking the church out of the walls. My desire is to (go beyond) this building ad take them outside to the community and become effective ‘cause that’s the only way,” Chaplain Cardona said.

They said in order to make this happen, they need your help too.

Diaz said IMPD and local leaders plan to meet regularly to come up with a solid plan to reach out to the Hispanic community.