Valley in Brief: Local law enforcement seeking volunteer interpreters |

Valley in Brief: Local law enforcement seeking volunteer interpreters

EAGLE COUNTY — The Eagle County Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee is recruiting for its volunteer interpreter program for law enforcement, which offers on-site interpreters at emergencies and community events. The free training will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 28 in Eagle at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, 885 Chambers Ave. The volunteers will receive instruction in interpretation ethics, modes of interpretation, working with victims and law enforcement culture. This group will join previously trained volunteers who provide interpretation in Spanish, French and Russian.

Support for victims

The need for the volunteer interpreters has become apparent in Eagle County, as more members of the immigrant community are beginning to become comfortable reporting crimes to law enforcement, according to Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger. Even someone who speaks English will often revert to their native language when put in a highly stressful situation.

“I’m participating in this program because I know how frustrating it can be to not be understood in a dire situation and how important it is to have a voice. Everyone deserves to be heard,” one volunteer explained.

While the Vail Public Safety Communications Center accessed Language Line interpretation services for 699 calls for 10 languages in 2016, it can be difficult to build trust and support for victims via telephone interpretation. By having volunteer interpreters, law enforcement will be better able to build trust and communication between themselves and non-native English speakers. There is also an increasing need for sign-language interpretation, with multiple agencies reporting the lack of sign-language interpretation as a barrier to communication.

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The committee is hoping to recruit interpreters for numerous languages and sign language. Interested potential volunteers can contact Megan Bonta at Catholic Charities by calling 970-949-0405 or by emailing for more information and to register.

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